Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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Mustang Police Chief Chuck Foley demonstrates how a thermal imaging device will works. It detects differences in temperature, as a person would appear ghost white. (Staff photo by Jon Watje)
 
Mustang Police Chief Chuck Foley with a thermal imaging device that belongs to the fire department. Foley said his department will receive its own device thanks to a grant from the state’s Homeland Security Office. (Staff photo by Jon Watje)
 

By Jon Watje
Managing Editor

The Mustang Police Department will have a new tool to help them in searching for lost individuals or criminals on the run.

Mustang Police Chief Chuck Foley said his department is receiving a grant from the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security that will provide them with a thermal imaging device. The City Council voted to accept the grant, which is worth a total of $4,914.

"This is a win-win for the city," Foley said. "The fire department already has three of these and they use it to find hot spots and to find people in a smoke filled building. For law enforcement, we could use this to look for a lost or missing child. We could also use it for tracking."

Foley said the hand-held device shows differences in temperature. By rendering infrared radiation as visible light, users can see areas of heat. When aiming the pointer in the middle of the screen at an object, the device tells the user the temperature of the object and the more heat the object gives off, the brighter it appears.

"The warmer something is the brighter it is on the screen," Foley said. "For instance, if you place your hand on a desk for a few seconds and remove it, you will be able to see the hand print for a long period of time."

Foley said there were times in the past that the device would of came in handy.

"Not too long ago, there were two suspects that fled police from Oklahoma City and came into Mustang," he said. "We searched from them along a creek line for several hours, even after dark. With this device, we could of used it to locate footprints on the ground. There was also a standoff in Union City recently where an individual barricaded himself and there was a gun in the house. We could of used this in maybe locating the gun or the subject in the house. Guns have metallic parts and retain heat for long periods of time. We have officers who are part of an emergency response team and they could find his very useful."

Foley said the city will receive the money to purchase the device from the office of Homeland Security and must assign the money to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.

"With some grants, we have to use city money and then get reimbursed later on," he said. "With this grant, we don’t have to use any city money."

He said he believes the department will have the device in hand by the end of the month.

"If we can locate just one person with this device, it is worth it," Foley said.


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