Sarasota Sheriff's Office sharpens its crime fighting eyes in the sky

8:28 PM, Jan 16, 2014   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
Isabel Mascarenas Video Stories
More Isabel Mascareñas Stories

Sarasota, Florida -- Sarasota deputies now have sharper eyes in the sky when fighting crime or helping someone in need, and a mother of twin girls is grateful for the new technology.

When Sarasota Deputy Brent Wineka steps into the cockpit he has a new crime-fighting tool -- the latest in infrared technology.

"It has its own GPS, it's a smarter camera," says Wineka.

Wineka says with a full 360-degree view -- unlike the previous camera -- this one offers more details, has better contrast, double the range and is more accurate.

"It's based on GPS information, not heat information. We tell it to lock onto a spot and it holds that spot."

He says by using GPS it's easier to find a criminal or a missing person.

On Friday, the new infrared camera helped deputies search for twin sisters missing in North Port for more than an hour. Their mother, who asked we not identify her, recalled those anxious moments.

"It was very scary, we didn't know where they were," says the twins' mother.

"They're in that wooded area walking towards you," says the sheriff's pilot as he tracks the girls on the ground from the helicopter.

The GPS's mapping system helped the pilot guide North Port Police officers on the ground using street names.

"I'm very grateful. They came out, started flying around and found them in minutes," says the twins' mother.

The infrared camera is ideal for nighttime use, but it works just as well during the day.

"It's a great find to find missing children, finding someone who tried to get away or who hurt somebody. That's satisfying. It's why we do this job," Wineka says.

You may also like... 

Weird Florida: A look back at some of the strangest stories of the year

Miracle Baby: Tampa toddler has 5-organ transplant

Broke Bad: Contest winner busted in synthetic drug ring

Here kitty, kitty: Lion escapes enclosure at Pasco sanctuary

Fake Cop: Man arrested 3 times for impersonating officer

Animal tragedy: Girl's miniature horse attacked by dogs

#ShortYellows: Florida quietly shortened yellow lights

Kittens shot: Officer shoots kittens in front of children

Popular photo galleries:

Faces of Meth: Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers

Trayvon Martin Shooting: Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos 

Hooters Winners: Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant

Rejected: Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV***warning graphic***

Deadly sinkhole: Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole

Popular Databases:

Florida Sex Offenders: Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here

Restaurant Inspections: Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here

Isabel Mascarenas

Most Watched Videos