(Photo: FLIR)

(Photo: FLIR)

The FLIR Detection division has an entire product line devoted to detecting radiation. The most complex and most sensitive to radiation is a premium-class RIID radio-isotope identification device (RIID) called the IdentiFinder R500 that can survey container ships or trucks and identify the specific types of radiation. But most law enforcement officers don't need that level of precision on the job. They just need something to tell them when and where a dangerous level of radiation exists. Which is the purpose of FLIR's IdentiFinder R100.

This new device is designed to be small, simple, and economical enough for officers to wear it daily in case it's needed. The IdentiFinder R100 is a personal radiation detector, or PRD. So it's designed for ease of use by an individual officer. The R100 is fully compliant with ANSI N42.33, the portable radiation detection standard for Homeland Security. You can wear it on your belt, mount it in a vehicle, and operate it one handed. Its long, narrow shape easily fits in a holster or the palm of the hand. "It will passively detect for radiation while officers are doing other tasks," says Dr. Nicie C. Murphy, FLIR Systems' radiation product manager. "It's something they don't have to think about unless a threat is present."

And when there is a dangerous level of radiation, the IdentiFinder R100 is designed to clearly and instantly alert officers to the fact. Murphy likens the sound it makes to that of a smoke alarm, and at 80 decibels it's going to be heard. But just in case, the device also vibrates and LEDs light up on the top and the front face of the device so they can be seen whether the officer is holding the R100 or wearing it on his or her hip. "We want to make sure they don’t miss the threat," Murphy says. "We pride ourselves on this product being the first safety net for operator safety."

After recognizing a threat is present, the officer should get out of the danger zone. This can be determined by the alarm dissipating and the numbers displayed on the device going down.

The next step is notifying others, which the device also facilitates. Built-in Bluetooth Smart technology in the IdentiFinder R100 connects to mobile apps to record and send a dose rate report and geotag to anyone up the chain of command who has been preloaded in the device for just such an event. This information about the location and level of the radiation will help agencies determine how large the threat is and what to do. After the fact, the device will automatically generate a report to streamline paperwork, which FLIR calls One-Touch Reachback. 

Each IdentiFinder R100 Personal Radiation Detector comes with a lanyard, holster, USB cable, two AA batteries, USB flash drive containing the product manual, printed quick start guide, and carry bag, for a price of $1,195. The device has a rubber molded exterior and is IP67-rated to protect against dust and is water-submersible up to 1 meter and drop-test compliant to 1.5 meters, so officers don't have to worry about it getting damaged. Murphy says that in in-house tests, a car ran over the over an IdentiFinder R100 four times and it didn't even damage the face of it.

The device is also designed to be used for covert operations. "If there is a need to be incognito, we don't want officers feeling like everyone knows what it is," Murphy says. "It doesn't have shiny parts, so it won't be reflective at night. If they need to hide it, they can."

An intuitive interface that looks and operates the same across all platforms and on other IdentiFinder products makes the IdentiFinder R100 easy for an officer on any detail to use.

"I'm really excited about the IdentiFinder R100," Murphy says. "It is built to work and last in all large-scale events. There are no consumables required, no user maintenance, it's belt wearable, it has over 125 hours of battery life, and it is cost effective so agencies can buy as many as needed to increase operator safety."