How FLIR H-Series cameras can augment your in-car video system
FLIR H-Series cameras have real-time recording which can be integrated into an existing recording system
Because the product focus for the month of February is in-car video, I thought I would introduce something that potentially (and significantly) augment capturing video evidence in a patrol car for an array of in-car video systems, rather than focus in on any one specific integrated in-car video system.
During SHOT 2011, I was introduced to the FLIR HS-324, one of the FLIR H-Series Compact Tactical Thermal Night Vision Cameras. This is a handheld thermal imaging camera that allows officers to capture and report evidence in total darkness. It got my attention when I got to play with this tool. I saw the outstanding contrast of the images. The FLIR H-Series cameras have real-time recording which can be integrated into an existing recording system.
Nowadays, the latest models like the TOUGHBOOK ARBITRATOR™ 360 (which can support up to six cameras) and ICOP 20-20 Vision (whose remote microphone modules are durable and discreet) are capable of 360° recording, which are light years better than the unit to which I am referring. That said, in theory you could plug the FLIR HS-324 into those or any other in-car video system that accepts “multiple ins.”
I teach an online course called Law Enforcement Report Writing — one of the most critical law enforcement skills for career survival. I use YouTube videos and attempt to drive home the idea of perspective. I want my students to be able to describe their perspective and include in their reports where the witnesses were located when they viewed a scene. The idea of having an additional recorded perspective using an H-Series FLIR really communicates material in court.
The H-Series for takes four rechargeable AA batteries, which gives it approximately five hours of run time. This is more than sufficient for almost any incident. Additionally, it will run off of AC and vehicle power. It captures stills in the form of a JPEG, which can be transferred onto SD card. A one-gig card will hold 20,000 images from this device. Their recordings are time stamped with a real-time clock.
Most importantly, the FLIR H-Series products can see in total darkness, a quality that distinguishes them from “night vision” devices.
And the FLIR H-Series is compact. It can be worn around the neck like most cameras. It is shock resistant and completely submersible (IP-67, one-meter drop). It will take optional lenses. For reference, a Pelican Storm iM2306 case would be appropriate for trunk storage.
I was in the military when we were issued NVG Image intensification products, which wouldn’t hold a candle (couldn’t resist) to what FLIR has to offer. For example, because of new advancements in filtering, the user has a better contrasting view between the desired image and its background.
The old school stuff was easily fooled by over-saturation. That is, if we knew someone was using image intensification to track us during a training exercise, we would create a situation where we could pop a flare. It didn’t help us much, but it did plenty of visual damage to the OPFOR. The H-Series FLIR Cameras would be unaffected by this tactic.
The H-Series Compact Tactical Thermal Night Vision Camera has a startup that I estimate was about two to three seconds. It has simplified buttons. It can integrate into existing in-car video systems. It is cost effective and rugged enough to put a few of them out in a shift. I recommend the FLIR HS-324 for everyday patrol use. It is affordable for the small agency and will improve evidence collection and suspect apprehension.
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