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Thermal imaging cameras purchased for law enforcement

Money seized in cannabis trafficking used to buy equipment

Published: Friday, June 21, 2013 9:46 a.m. CDT
Caption
Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Dearth, from left; Conservation Police Officers Dave Wollgast and Matt Anderson; and Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland pose for a picture to mark the state’s attorney’s office contribution of thermal imaging equipment to the Illinois Conservation Police.

On June 6, Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland announced the purchase of two FLIR LS-series thermal imaging cameras for the Illinois Conservation Police.

The thermal imaging cameras give police the power to see clearly in total darkness and can be used for many applications.

First, the thermal imaging cameras allow police to detect heat signatures from live bodies or vehicles or any other heat source in day and night situations; as a result, a young child who gets lost in a cornfield may be found quickly or a fleeing felon would not be able to avoid apprehension under the cover of darkness.

Second, the thermal imaging cameras enhance law enforcement’s ability to collect evidence, such as a gun that was thrown from a suspect, recently used drug paraphernalia, or the concealment of other contraband.

Third, the devices will allow police to conduct surveillance on cannabis-grow operations from a substantial distance without compromising an investigation.

Fourth, the devices increase officer safety and provides law enforcement with greater situational awareness of potential threats while conducting investigations. The thermal imaging cameras can detect threats because they can see through smoke, dust, fog, snow falling, and rain.

It causes heat-producing objects to stand out against cooler backgrounds, therefore giving bad guys fewer places to hide. Police can make these observations without being seen while under the cover of darkness.

The Conservation Police Officers are the primary law enforcement body tasked with providing public safety within Grundy County’s seven state parks and state wildlife Areas.

“The thermal imaging cameras will enhance law enforcement’s ability to enforce narcotics and all other laws in our beautiful parks, making them a safer place to be,” said Helland.

The thermal imaging cameras were purchased through the State’s Attorney’s Office’s drug asset forfeiture account from money seized in cannabis trafficking, and not at the taxpayer’s expense.

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