Terrell Hill PD Using Thermal Technology to Catch Thieves
The Terrell Hills Police Department is trying out some new technology to help them catch car thieves.
The department installed their first thermal energy camera on a squad car's spotlight last week, to help with a recent crime spree of night time car thefts in the area.
"Our guys patrol and they try to catch them, but it can be pretty easy for someone to see you coming down the street and jump behind a car, or jump into a bush. So, we ran across these nocturnal thermal image systems and they mount right on the spotlight, and as an officer patrols it relays to him a real-time thermal image on a screen inside the car," said Terrell Hills Lt. Bill Foley.
The department has installed the camera in only one car so far, and have using it as a study guide for about a week now.
"We are in the process of evaluating it, and we're hoping to purchase another system, so we'll have two by the first of the year," said Lt. Foley.
Each camera, which costs around $3,900, can be used for more than just targeting possible hidden suspects.
"We can tell which cars have been off for a short time and which have been off for a long time. Also, if we're patrolling a lot of times we get the smell of smoke out here, and have people call that in. We have a thermal image camera patrolling the area scanning houses. So, if there's a hot spot in the house we can detect fires with it," said Lt. Foley.
However, police still recommend you lock your car doors and hide all valuables in a safe place as the first line of defense.