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Tapping Non-Traditional Funding for Thermal Technology
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A handheld thermal imager – like any of FLIR’s law enforcement specific H-Series and LS-Series models – gives officers the information they need to make quick decisions, enhancing mission effectiveness, maximizing operational capabilities, and improving officer safety.

 

 

 

 

Ideas for equipping your law enforcement agency with the life-saving power of FLIR

 

By Brent T. Wheat

 

Every cop in America would love to have access to the enhanced situational awareness made possible by thermal-imaging technology, also known as Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR). With a near-magical ability to highlight hidden bad guys and find missing people, FLIR has been a game-changer for those officers fortunate enough to possess it.

 

If you are a member of a large law enforcement agency, odds are good that some of your fellow officers have FLIR devices issued to them. Of course, getting one onto your particular beat may be a little less likely than arresting Bigfoot for vagrancy. And the other 49-percent of U.S. police officers who work for smaller agencies? Well, many are simply resigned to the idea that the tactical advantages of FLIR remain out of reach due to cost.

 

But that doesn’t have to be the case.

 

There is no denying that FLIR devices are expensive when compared to other optical enhancement systems, but there are other ways to procure sorely-needed thermal-imaging gear besides wading through a 300-page grant application or waiting hopelessly for an anonymous donation to arrive in the mail. What we’re talking about is good old-fashioned fundraising: a do-it-yourself, take-the-bull-by-the-proverbialsmethod for solving the problem without waiting for external help.

 

With modest planning and effort, it’s possible for your unit or agency to raise the funds needed to purchase a FLIR thermal device that will make your job easier and safer. Here are four ideas to make it happen.

 

 

Routine apprehension protocols become anything but in low-visibility conditions. The reduced risk and increased situational awareness afforded by FLIR is well worth some grassroots fundraising.

 

 

 

1. Talking Heads

 

One tactical team solved their funding problem in a very unique way; they formed a “speaker’s bureau.”

 

Several of the team’s officers contacted local fraternal, business and social organizations and offered their services as a speaker on law enforcement topics. Organizations such as Kiwanis, Rotary, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Elks, Eagles and others are dying for interesting luncheon speakers and will normally jump at the chance to have a couple of entertaining officers give a short presentation at their meetings.

 

As hoped, the officers found that most of the organizations they spoke to made a donation to the team’s equipment fund. In some cases, an annual cash contribution became one of the organizations’ yearly goals. 

 

After a few months on the “rubber chicken circuit” (a reference to the usual baked entrée served during such meetings), collecting everything from zero to $500 checks, the team reached its fundraising goal.

 

 

 

2. Crime Watch Partnership

 

There are plenty of ways to leverage community support into funding. One under-utilized resource is neighborhood crime watch or crime prevention groups.

Even if the group doesn’t have funds (most don’t), they probably will be more than happy to organize and operate a fundraiser themselves and give the proceeds to their local agency. This is a great way to bolster community support and police-citizen interaction while giving the group a good outlet for its collective pent-up energies. Best of all, officers aren’t stuck dealing with the abundant headaches associated with running an event.

 

 

3. Large Business Donations or Grants

 

Many large, national corporations have some type of donation or granting mechanism. These donation programs may not be publicized, so they can take some sniffing out, but many budget anywhere from $500-$10,000 per month for local charities, organizations and other recipients.

 

These funds are a tax write-off and public relations tool for the company, but for cash-strapped agencies like yours, they are a handy way to fund smaller or one-off items. In many cases, the eligibility criterion is quite loose, and law enforcement equipment purchases will usually be looked upon favorably.

 

Start by making a list of all the “big box stores” and manufacturing plants in your area, then contact the individual managers to see if the company makes local donations. A screening process or committee typically approves where the money goes, but the local manger or executive usually has a strong influence on the outcome. Personal relationships are important, so send the right person.

 

 

4.  Diversion, Deferral and Alternative Prosecution Programs


Though controversial and generally disliked by cops, “alternative prosecution” allows certain types of offenders to pay a financial penalty to avoid criminal prosecution. These programs are becoming common and are usually justified as a way to reduce jail overcrowding, along with the underlying subtext of raising operating funds for financially strapped court systems.

 

If such a program is already offered in your bailiwick, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon.

 

Law enforcement can leverage the fact that such programs typically have very open-ended guidelines on penalties. This means that a cooperative local District Attorney or Prosecutor who implemented the program could easily tack an extra $50 “Law Enforcement Fee” onto any alternative sentence agreement.  

 

Tapping into this lucrative cash stream will require high-level negotiation between agency heads and it isn’t a quick fix. However, it can become a steady source of funding and the terms are easily settled if both sides are amenable. 

 

 

A bit of creativity and planning can literally be a lifesaver. Having access to a versatile thermal device like FLIR’s BHS-Series biocular camera gives law enforcement officers a clear tactical advantage, day or night. Featuring a full coverage eyepiece, inter-ocular adjustment, ergonomic comfort, straightforward controls, and unrivaled FLIR performance, the FLIR BHS-Series biocular is a must-have for extended patrols, covert surveillance, critical infrastructure protection, and high-threat security missions.

 

 

 

 

Now that you have some ideas on non-traditional ways to generate funds for FLIR, keep these four keys to successful law enforcement fundraising in mind:

 

Have a clear goal. Know what you’re trying to accomplish and why. You’ll be asked this question over and over, so develop clear, concise and logical answers beforehand and make sure your fundraising team can recite them ad nauseam.

 

Make sure you have the support of your chain-of-command. In today’s climate, realize there is a 100-percent chance of unfavorable social media comments with any initiative. So be sure to have buy-in from everyone from the County Executive, Mayor or agency director down to the squad sergeant. As fundraising efforts will occasionally become controversial, it is critical to make sure everyone is behind the effort.

 

Beware of ethics, public relations and legal issues. Some agency heads believe it is unethical to solicit outside funds, while most have a sliding scale of discomfortbased upon the circumstances. Make sure you understand those guidelines and beliefs before starting anything. Never cut corners when it comes to any applicable legal or procedural requirements.

 

Develop appropriate policy. Ensure that written policy and agency rules support the use, control, maintenance and disposal of any new assets. In other words, make sure you give clear guidance on the care and feeding of your new thermal-imaging equipment. This guidance must also acknowledge who can use the gear, what happens if somebody breaks it, and what happens if and when it is no longer needed.

 

Thermal-imaging handheld cameras, bi-oculars, goggle-mounted devices and vehicle systems are just a few of the life-saving devices within reach of your department or agency… if you employ some of the non-traditional funding strategies available. Make a plan and execute.

 

For information on a full range of thermal-imaging devices for law enforcement from the category leader, visit http://www.flir.com/ots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Illinois Outdoors TV Show and Outdoor News by Don Dziedzina. Fishing, Hunting, Outdoor Reports For All Illinois including Illinois River, La Salle Lake, Braidwood Lake, Heidecke Lake, Tampier Lake, Lake Michigan, Calumet River, Rend Lake, Shelbyville, Fox Chain, Illinois Forest Preserve Lakes, for catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, lake trout, salmon, kings, coho, muskies. Hunting Illinois Information reports, news TV Show for upland game, waterfowl, deer in Illinois hunting. Fishing and Hunting TV Show for Illinois, photos, tips and articles, lake and river maps for Illinois, rod covers, Great fathers day, birthday gifts and Christmas gifts from Illinois Outdoors TV Show hosted by Don Dziedzina and Don DZ.

 

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