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When the Gavel Goes Down: Prevent Court Challenges to Thermal Imaging Evidence With Training and Certification

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 26 Issue: 7 Dated: July 1999 Pages: 72-76
Ronnie L. Paynter
Date Published
4 pages
This article discusses how to prevent court challenges to thermal imaging evidence with training and certification.
Law enforcement agencies are being criticized for using uncertified personnel when courts challenge the use of evidence derived from thermal imaging technology. The Law Enforcement Thermographers' Association (LETA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) are addressing thermal imaging from both a prosecution and a training standpoint. Officers should be trained in basic, advanced, and instructor levels of thermal imager operation, and should be aware of the latest technological advancements, LETA- and court-approved applications for thermal imagers and the legal restraints that have barred thermal images from the courtroom. The article describes a typical training program, suggested oversight of thermal imaging by a police department, ways to dispel misconceptions about thermal imaging technology, and features to look for in imaging equipment.