FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – As the manhunt for the suspected Boston bomber was drawing to a close, and police were checking out a report he was hiding in a boat parked in a backyard, a helicopter using what’s called FLIR technology was hovering overhead to confirm he was indeed inside.

That same technology is in use daily by the Broward Sheriff’s Office to find fugitives, suspects in hiding, even disoriented senior citizens.

FLIR, or Forward Looking Infrared, is the name of the camera mounted on the front of all Broward Sheriff’s Office helicopters.

A flight medic, who’s aboard to help medivac trauma patients to area hospitals, also operates the FLIR, while the pilot operates the helicopter.

“If we didn’t have the FLIR, we’d simply be just a bright light up in the sky,” says Veteran Pilot Carl Spear.

Spears said the FLIR, coupled with night-vision goggles, is an amazing tool to track down suspects.

“It’s enabled us to reduce our flight time, saving taxpayer dollars, and increase our success rate in finding people who are hiding,” said Spear.

FLIR has also helped catch late night burglars hiding on the roofs of buildings trying to steal electrical wiring.


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