Date: Apr 22, 2013 Author: Elliot Njus Source: The Oregonian (
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After Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped a gunfight with police and eluded a dragnet that shut down the Boston area, police got their first look at him through infrared imaging technology manufactured in Wilsonville.
After a Watertown, Mass., resident reported finding Tsarnaev in a boat in his backyard, police used an infrared camera developed by Flir Systems Inc. to locate him and track his movements.
"Our helicopter had actually detected the subject in the boat," Col. Timothy Alben of the Massachusetts State Police told reporters, including NBC News. "We have what's called a FLIR — a forward-looking infrared device — on that helicopter. It picked up the heat signature of the individual, even though he was underneath what appeared to be the 'shrink wrap' or cover on the boat itself."
Although FLIR is used as a military acronym, it also refers to the Wilsonville-based company. A spokesman for the company confirmed the images released by the Massachusetts State Police on Saturday came from its equipment.
"We saw the images that they just released," said Shane Harrison, vice president of corporate development and investor relations for FLIR. "Yep, that is ours."
The imaging technology was reported used to confirm that Tsarnaev was in the boat, even though it was covered, and injured but alive, as police detected movement.
Harrison said Flir sold the system to the Massachusetts State Police years earlier, but that it was gratifying to see the technology used in such a high-profile way.
"That's why we do what we do," he said. "It's not a military thing. Its a protecting people thing."
The company makes military and commercial night-vision and heat-sensing equipment and security systems.
-- Elliot Njus