This article explores the many uses of thermal-imaging devices for law enforcement.
Ten Texas police agencies are taking part in the pilot testing of lightweight, handheld thermal-imaging devices, which allow officers to see any heat-emitting object in the dark, such as a person or a hot car engine. The devices are anticipated to have a plethora of law enforcement uses, limited only by the imagination of the agency. For example, the devices allow officers to see freshly made skid marks, evidence recently discarded by a suspect, and even the warm-water trail of a swimmer. The Raytheon Corporation developed the devices while the National Institute of Justice supplied the devices to the Texas police agencies and is overseeing the effectiveness evaluation of the devices. While the devices are prohibitively expensive, costs are expected to drop as the cost of the infrared sensor components drop. Contact information is presented.