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HIGH TECH ROy HuNTINGTON CuTTING EDGE WIDGETs — AND OTHER NEW sTuff. FLIR’s new PS-Series Scout thermal imager is compact, offering excellent performance and amazing affordability. FLIR’s Scout S Hide O 16 amplification); but that same suspect would instantly stand out in the viewfinder of a thermal imager due to their virtually impossible-to-hide ome 100 years after Newton in a dark canyon or alley. Now, we’re heat signature. conducted early experiments also familiar with the images of miliHistorically, those compelling black with visible light, a scientist, tary targets being neatly picked-off in and white thermal images were generWilliam Herschel, discovered the dark by our fighting troops. These ated by equipment often costing in the “heat energy” while experimenting with images, done using heat signatures as tens of thousands to upward of a million filters he was using to watch the sun opposed to simply amplifying light dollars, far out of reach of most police through a telescope. In recent decades (think: night vision goggles), are imagencies, and certainly out of reach of science has honed “thermal energy” mune to light of any kind since the any beat cop. But only recently, compatechnology, resulting in today’s almost heat wavelengths are not in the visible nies like FLIR have created new models science fiction-like performance of light spectrum. It’s possible to hide of hand-held, amazingly low-cost modern infrared or thermal imagers. behind foliage, for in“personal” We’re all familiar with chases seen stance, and be invisible units, sudUsing FLIR, suddenly the suspect through police helicopter thermal to someone with night denly putting is visible in the same setting. imaging cameras, or the “hot” white vision goggles (light the power of Photo: FLIR image of a suspect hiding thermal imaging literally Using light amplification, it’s into the hands impossible to see the “susof beat cops pect” hiding in the bushes. anywhere. IR Scope Beat-ready and affordaBle They Can’t Photo: FLIR ur test unit, the PS-Series “Scout” Thermal Handheld Camera from FLIR, is priced at $1,995 at full retail, and geared to the sporting market. However, we saw immediate applications for cops everywhere. It’s an un-cooled unit, which basically means while it can’t perform as well as versions costing $50,000; it nonetheless does an excellent job with the technology it uses. And that technology is remarkable. We’ll keep the specs general here, if you want more detail, jump to their website. The Scout is palm-sized, lightweight, with minimal controls. It’s weather-tight, has a 2-power digital zoom and comes in two models with two resolution choices. You can choose “white” hot, “black” hot or a very nifty “red” hot mode. The simple buttons control power, polarity (colors), zoom and LCD brightness. There’s even an embedded LED tasklight to help you see. The rechargeable li-ion internal bat- Right: Roy leaned on a wall for a few minutes then returned five minutes later and took this photo through the viewfinder of the Scout, clearly showing his heat signature still remaining. This kind of technology would’ve been out of reach of a street cop only a year or two ago. tery gives you about a five-hour run time. We had this unit in our hands, so can report from personal experience. Here at COP, we get to play with a wide cross section of equipment and have a good deal of experience with both “high-end” and “low-end” gear. Usually, you pay a significant penalty when you make the jump from high to low in just about Continued on page 54 WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011