James Bond, Drug Users, Eat Your Hearts Out 

James Bond, Drug Users, Eat Your Hearts Out 
Posted by FoM on February 25, 2000 at 15:41:55 PT
By Hal Marcovitz Of The Morning Call 
One camera operates at the end of a fiber-optic cable. It is tiny enough to be lowered into the gas tank of a car, yet sensitive enough to photograph the contents of a pocket through the fabric.Another camera composes images from the infrared radiation given off by the human body. It is so sensitive that it can detect the heat a suspect's hand may have left on a gun several minutes after the weapon was discarded.
"It picks up the actual heat from the person," said Troy Arnold, a police officer from Brownsville, Texas. "We can see where they're hiding."Arnold helped demonstrate the "uncooled thermal imager" as well as other devices Thursday for about 50 police officers from Bucks County who attended a program on new crimefighting technology available to law enforcement agencies from the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy.Under the program, police departments doing narcotics investigations can receive the equipment and training free if they demonstrate a need for it. During the past two years, about 700 police departments have obtained the equipment through the program."This gives us a leg up on drug dealers," said state Attorney General Michael D. Fisher, who attended the demonstration at LaSalle University's Bucks County campus in Newtown. "We're never ceased to be amazed by the sophisticated technology the bad guys seem to have. The good guys always seem to be a step behind."Nevertheless, it is hard to imagine drug dealers having access to technology such as the "advanced vehicle tracking system," which enables a police officer using a laptop computer to track a runaway car by linking up with a satellite; or the "video stabilization system," which gets rid of the shakes in a bouncy video, enabling police officers and witnesses to make better identifications of suspects, or the "mini-buster contraband detector," which enables the officer to detect the density of an object hidden inside a wall."This works outstanding," Arnold said as he demonstrated the mini-buster.The device is swept across a wall or similar obstruction and indicates the density of an object that may be hidden -- much the same way an ordinary stud finder works. The mini-buster is much more sensitive. Arnold said his police department has used the device to find narcotics hidden inside spare tires in car trunks.Arnold said his department also has used the fiber-optic camera. In one case, by lowering it into a car's gas tank, Arnold said, police officers discovered 91 pounds of marijuana."We used the mini-buster and got an inaccurate reading on a gas tank. Right away, we fiber-scoped it, and two individuals were arrested," he said.Richland Township Police Chief Stuart Woods said his department would consider applying for the equipment. "It might be stuff that's worth our while to get involved with."He pointed out, though, that local police departments would do well to know under what circumstances such equipment can be used. For example, Woods said, police would probably need a search warrant before pointing infrared imaging equipment at a house. He said the equipment permits police to see inside a house, which may be considered an illegal search if performed without a warrant. "When you point that at a house, it may detect a large amount of heat up in the attic, which indicates marijuana. But before you point it at a house, you need a search warrant," Woods said.U.S. Rep. James C. Greenwood, who organized the technology demonstration, urged Bucks County police departments to make applications for the equipment.Published: February 25, 2000 2000 THE MORNING CALL Inc.Related Articles:Court Limits Use of High-Tech Sensors Warrant Needed for Thermal Imaging
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #2 posted by Symmetric on February 25, 2000 at 20:53:13 PT:
If you give children toys, they will most likely play with them.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by CongressmanSuet on February 25, 2000 at 18:58:07 PT
  Why do I get the feeling that alot of times these innovative devices are trained at suspect residences, and if anything is found to be amiss, THEN the police will "find" enough other evidence to obtain a warrant?
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: