The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department recently bought an 8500-series FLIR with a day-time camera system that has been installed in our agency’s Bell OH-58 helicopter. The advanced camera system was purchased with proceeds from drug seizures that our agency conducted while investigating illegal drug dealing in Lexington County.
FLIR is an acronym for the Forward Looking Infrared surveillance camera system. The 8500-series FLIR provides our agency with the most up-to-date surveillance camera technology. The FLIR detects varying degrees of heat that emanate from objects, persons and animals that are on the ground.
The FLIR includes a video screen that is mounted inside our agency’s helicopter. A tactical flight officer who is in the helicopter can view, in real time, a digital image of what the camera is detecting on the ground. The tactical flight officer can provide precise directions to the helicopter’s pilot as well as law enforcement officers on the ground about where they need to move in order to apprehend a criminal suspect. The FLIR also can be used to find persons who have been reported missing to law enforcement, including children, persons who suffer from dementia and boaters lost on Lake Murray.
The installation of the FLIR in our agency’s helicopter enhances deputies’ safety, enables deputies to more efficiently apprehend criminal suspects and enables deputies to more efficiently locate persons who have been reported missing to our agency.
Citizens who want to see a demonstration of the FLIR or who would like more information about the Sheriff’s Department helicopter can access a video concerning the helicopter and FLIR that is available in the video section of our agency’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/lcsd.fb).