Originally Posted by DaBigBR
We have used the fire department's thermal imaging in a pinch with very limited success. Sometimes you just have to do a little leg work to figure out what technology is alreay available to you.
Before our agency got some off a grant, I also used the fire department's on a crash scene. If you can't see skid or yaw marks in the road and if you get the thermal imaging out you can see the where the tire locked and skidded on the roadway (heat generated by the friction).
Also, I used it on a crash when one of the occupants was witnessed running away from the scene into the woods. Our K-9 couldn't find the subject, but I took the FLIR and hit the woods and found him curled up in a fetal position. The subject was lucky he was found, as he had a lacerated liver, busted pancreas, and some other internal injuries.
Like someone mentioned above, it is only as good as the operator. On a manhunt in the woods during the night it is a game changer, plus it can find crap that the perp dropped in the woods or even the good guy's stuff.