Last night, an East Isle Officer was testing a new piece of equipment, a Forward Looking Infra-Red, or FLIR. Officer Marcelino Gonzalez was parked in a dark alley with all his lights out in the 1400 block of 20th St at 11:15pm (4/11/11). Officer Gonzalez activated the FLIR and he observed the heat signature outline of a subject emerge from a backyard. The subject, displayed on the computer screen in Officer Gonzalez’ patrol car, appeared to be carrying something.
Officer Gonzalez stopped the subject who was found to be carrying lawn equipment. The homeowner was contacted identified the items. It was determined that the suspect had entered the backyard through a rear gate and taken the items from the homeowners garage.
Joseph Earl Hall (m/b 11/7/66 of Galveston) was arrested and charged with Felony Theft (due to having two prior convictions for theft) with bond set at $20,000.00.
The Galveston Police Department recently acquired the FLIR units with a Department of Homeland Security Grant. FLIR’s measure the heat given off by a particular object and convert it to an image. The technology has been available for years and is used in military applications and aviation. It has only recently become affordable. The FLIR units, mounted to police cars, can be used to locate suspects at night, find missing children and persons, and aid in searches for swimmers and boaters in the water.
Officer Gonzalez is assigned to the first of eight patrol cars that will be outfitted with the FLIR systems.