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American COP November 2012 Digital Edition - Page 18
HIGH TECH DAVEDOUGLAS C UTTINGEDGEWIDGETS—ANDOTHERNEWSTUFF. affOrdaBLe QUaLiTY THermaL imaGinG FLIR’s H-Series Bi-Ocular brings high quality, affordable thermal vision into the hands of beat cops. FLIR H-SERIES BI-OCULAR Left: Heat signatures are sure signs of recent vehicle use. Is this the burglary suspect’s vehicle you’ve been looking for? In this case, the unit is set for white hot in the viewﬁnder. Middle: On 4X digital zoom of a distant scene, details can still be made out. Using the optional optical lenses makes this even better. Right: Dave took this image of where his dog Ivy had been sleeping on her side — 10 minutes after she got up! ne of the good things about being a “long-in-the-tooth” cop is having the perspective of time, and seeing technical advances helping us better perform our jobs. Night and thermal vision products lead the way in the “things helping us most” category. Possibly the leading manufacturer of thermal vision systems, FLIR has a unit specifically designed for law enforcement: the H-Series Bi-Ocular. Thermal imaging detects temperature differences and heat radiation. It allows you to see in pitch black, through smoke, light fog and even light foliage. This technology has progressed from large, bulky, liquid-cooled systems only the military could afford, to small, light, handheld and reasonably affordable units you can put between the bucket seats of your police car. The standard version of the H-Series Bi-Ocular has a 320x240 resolution and 2X digital zoom capability. It’s powerful enough to detect a human about 1.25 miles away. An optional version is available with a 640x480 resolution and 4X digital zoom, which can detect a human at 1.5 miles. O POWer a HANDY FEATURES oth versions of the H-Series Bi-Ocular can accommodate interchangeable lenses. FLIR makes a 35mm wide angle, 65mm normal and 100mm telephoto lenses. Each is housed in a raised rubber armor sleeve and has a captured lens cap attached. One of the very few handheld units available with the interchangeable lens feature, the H-Series Bi-Ocular affords much greater ﬂexibility in use. Coupled with the zoom feature it gives you more options in how you’d deploy the system. The H-Series Bi-Ocular also has a slot for an SD card in its undercarriage. You can plug in the SD card and have the capability to do single digital photos or capture video clips of up to 25 seconds in duration. Courts and juries love videos and pictures, while defense attorneys hate them. A button toward the rear of the unit handles this function. You give it a quick momentary push for the single digital photo or hold it down for the video capture mode. Icons in the viewer show you the progress of the video, and momentary freeze of the image tells you the single-frame shot has been successful. Other buttons on the top of the unit control white-hot or black-hot selection and brightness control. 18 B latched door on the bottom of the H-Series Bi-Ocular allows for quickly swapping the batteries. Four AA rechargeable batteries power the unit and yield up to 5 hours of continuous operation. In a pinch you can use regular alkaline batteries, but your runtime is reduced to about 1.5 hours. Using the AA power makes great sense. The included hot shoe can be attached and provides endless operation, along with recharging the batteries. It also has a video output you can hookup to a monitor for viewing in real time. Cost starts at around $7,800 and can go up from there depending on options, lenses you buy and other goodies. If you equate that with the success of a quick find of a lost child in the dark, catching a violent criminal hiding in the brush, finding the “hot” car after a pursuit and a hundred other often dramatic uses — that price is close to a steal! And don’t forget, even in today’s tight budgets, there’s still federal and state money in the form of grants available. You just need to know how to ask nicely for it. For more info: (877) 773-3547 or www. americancopmagazine.com/ﬂir-systems * WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • NOVEMBER2012