The helicopters that assist Rockford, IL, officials with search-and-rescue operations will soon be able to employ heat detection to locate people who escape in complete darkness.

The infrared equipment can detect the warmth of a missing person and the heat of a just-fired gun, according to Deputy Chief Kurt Ditzler.

The technology will be implemented in one of the helicopters the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department uses through the Law Enforcement Aviation Coalition.

Rockford Area Crime Stoppers will pay for the $186,000 price tag as part of a $578,000 grant the crime-combating initiative will divide between area law enforcement groups.

Ditzler explained that the infrared equipment will permit officials to scan big sections of land, seeking temperature changes, which can help them locate missing individuals, nighttime car accident victims, and suspects on the lam.

Crime Stoppers is also purchasing surveillance cameras for the Rockford Police Department. Rockford police will receive during a three-year period $350,000 to implement the cameras in the city’s problem neighborhoods.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Rockford Register Star (IL); 05/16/07; P. 2C; Gurman, Sadie.