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.
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