The Island County Sheriff’s Office is purchasing three infrared cameras, one for each precinct.
The gear is being funded with a grant from the Washington State Department of Homeland Security. Through the same program, the County is also purchasing a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado for its Marine Safety Program to help tow the County’s existing watercraft and other functions.
The three Flir LS-64 units cost $5,300, a total of $15,900 for three, and the Silverado tabs out to $40,135.17. All of the costs were covered by the Homeland Security Grant Program.
The Island County Board of Commissioners voted to accept the grants and purchase the items during its, Aug. 12 regular meeting.
Different from a night vision camera, which the County already possesses, the hand-held thermal imaging device will enable County law enforcement to detect the presence of human or animal body heat in dark conditions.
Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said that Homeland Security grants were previously only available to jurisdictions bordering a foreign country. In recent years, the grant parameters were broadened to jurisdictions bordering an ocean.
Brown said the County was aggressive in applying for state and federal grants that help offset operation costs.
Because of the Homeland Security grants, Island County law enforcement will be better able to serve as the “eyes and ears of homeland security,” he said.