OPD helicopter pilots get new technology to help locate suspects on the ground

OPD helicopters get new technology to help locate suspects on the ground

OMAHA,NEB(FOX42KPTM)-The Omaha Police helicopters just got some new gadgets installed. These new cameras will help guide the officers on the ground to better find suspects on the run and even when they're looking for a missing person.

"They can see a clearer image on the monitor, they can see suspects running, we can see a lot better during the daytime, which we were not able to do before," Mike Davis said. He's flies the one of the helicopters.

The department purchased two new infrared cameras, two mapping systems and two high-definition monitors. The total cost was $1.4 million. The amount includes rewiring for all three helicopters.

"The models that we had, some of the hardware wasn't going to be supported anymore so it was at that time we had to either get a new system or potentially be down for several days."

The new system can pick on many things. They can spot where the person threw out the evidence, the exact location, like street names and addresses. Pilots can even shade out areas on the map where they've looked for the suspect. This helps them figure out where to focus next.

"We don't have to do many multitasking items, and we're able to relay information faster to the officers on the ground, give them a more accurate location to where suspects or evidence may be."

Even during the day, Davis says the cameras work like magic. Just last week, he captured a clear picture during an officer-involved shooting. This is something they have not been able to get before these new gadgets.

"It's a lot easier so the stress level for us goes way down," he said.

Whether it's day or night, he says the cameras are spot on and a great new tool.

"There's a lot of unknowns at night and these cameras paint a really bright picture of some pretty dark places and we're able to see a lot of things we wouldn't be able to see with any other system.

The new equipment was paid for by the Omaha Police Department's budget and a Douglas County Bond.

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