There are many exciting stories about how night vision has helped in a variety of situations - from the ability of a law enforcement officer to covertly observe and ultimately apprehend a criminal to the ability of a search and rescue unit to continue searches for missing persons during the night time hours.
Learn how night vision is being used and see what it could do to enhance your effectiveness during night operations, your personal security, and/or your outdoor adventures. How ITT Exelis Night Vision supported federal, state and local law enforcement as they secured National Special Security Events during the hours of darkness.
THE CHALLENGE: To support law enforcement during the hours of darkness and low light situations and help them detect, deter and prevent the disruption of a National Special Security Event (NSSE).
When an event is designated a National Special Security Event, the Secret Service assumes the role as the lead agency for the design and implementation of the operational security plan. Federal funds are released for the event’s security planning and all agencies involved have an increased level of responsibility. While the Secret Service is the lead agency, many agencies fill vital roles in the overall planning and security of an NSSE event. The challenge around NSSE events is security on all fronts. During daylight hours and within areas of full light, the playing field is fairly level; however, remove the element of light and someone has the advantage. During NSSE events, all agencies involved cannot afford to lose the upper hand. The challenge is to eliminate low light situations as a potential threat.
Prevention, readiness and diligence are the key factors in securing an NSSE from a terrorist threat. Night vision surveillance is a crucial means of protecting an area and its assets before, after and during an NSSE. ITT Exelis (XLS) gives law enforcement the advantage of monitoring activity in darkness and areas of low light.
The most effective way to prepare for and provide effective security for an NSSE is to ensure that law enforcement officials have the equipment and training they need long before an event takes place.
The law enforcement community has been diligent in its efforts to take on new homeland security challenges, but achieving true readiness is a daunting task. In 2003, the Patrol and Tactical Operations (PTO) committee within the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conducted a Homeland Security Preparedness survey within the law enforcement community. The survey revealed that without additional resources, such as funding, communication, training and equipment, police executives do not feel that their front-line agencies are ready to protect the country against another attack similar to that of Sept. 11, 2001. Nine of every 10 responding agencies do not feel “adequately prepared” to prevent or respond to a terrorist act.
THE SOLUTION: Provide the most advanced night vision equipment—Pinnacle® tube technology—and its accompanied familiarization and readiness training.
Exelis is the nation’s leading manufacturer of night vision technology for military and law enforcement agencies (federal, state and local). ITT Exelis' night vision goggles are used by many law enforcement agencies and Exelis often is consulted regarding night vision integration into security planning for NSSEs.
2004 Republican National Convention
The Port Authority in New York City shared the responsibility of securing the 2004 Republican National Convention. Specifically, the Port Authority’s tactical team, the Emergency Service Unit (ESU), was called on to secure bridges and waterways that lead into and surround Manhattan. The waterways are not well-lighted, so the ESU turned to ITT Exelis for its PVS-14 monocular with the latest Pinnacle® tube technology, which allows law enforcement the flexibility of moving between varying lighting conditions while maintaining a clear image through the goggles. The Pinnacle® tube and its gated power supply gave officers the ability to move easily from low-light to lighted conditions; the unit automatically adjusts the image based on the level of illumination. Officers could move from very poorly lit waterways and port areas into urban areas that were better lit but still required image intensification. Night vision gave officers the advantage of maintaining a clear view of their surroundings and potential threats as they sought to prevent incidents.
The same Pinnacle® tube technology came into play during the G8 Summit on Sea Island, Ga. The United States Coast Guard’s primary mission was to provide perimeter security around Sea Island and protect against any potential terrorist attack. ITT Exelis began coordinating with the Coast Guard four to six weeks prior to the event to assess equipment needs. Approximately two weeks before the event, Exelis reinforced the night vision capabilities through familiarization training, which the Coast Guard then incorporated into its planning and training strategies. The Coast Guard carried out routine patrols and perimeter security to secure Sea Island using night vision.
The Presidential Inauguration
The Presidential Inauguration in January 2005 required an unprecedented amount of security. Fortunately, help was available. Knowing that readiness is key in protecting the nation, six counties in New Jersey formed, funded and outfitted a Rapid Deployment Team (RDT) under the Urban Areas Security Initiative. It operates anywhere on the East Coast and can respond to any national event requiring high-level security. Equipped with federally funded response kits, this team carries with it all of the latest tactical response gear, including ITT Exelis’ PVS-14 monocular. Sixty-five members of the RDT made use of this technology during the Inauguration, dividing into teams to monitor and secure groups of city blocks.
THE RESULTS: Safe and secure NSSE operations.
In each of the scenarios above, the agencies involved were prepared to secure the night. Each event was safe and secure with only minimal disruption. The teamwork between agencies and the preparation for these NSSE events enabled successful outcomes in each case.
THE ONGOING COMMITMENT: Continuous Improvement and Customer Responsiveness
Terrorists are fiercely dedicated to exploiting security weaknesses, and they stay smart by studying and evolving. ITT Exelis, in turn, will match this dedication with a proactive approach, actively anticipating and developing technologies to meet needs before they arise.
The next advancement will be sensor fusion—the optical overlay of imagery from an image intensification (I2) sensor with imagery from a thermal sensor. The end result allows users to see through fog, smoke and other obscurants while retaining the detail afforded by I2.
For the longer term, Exelis is working on a digital unit that will convert I2 and thermal imagery to a digital output and electronically fuse, pixel by pixel, the two images.
The security challenges of today’s world are numerous, but Exelis will remain steadfast in its commitment to adapting night vision technology to the changing environment. ITT will continue to strengthen its partnerships with law enforcement and the military, offering the latest night vision technologies as critical tools in protecting the nation and those who protect her.
About ITT Exelis
ITT Exelis (formerly ITT Night Vision) is the world’s leading developer, producer and supplier of Generation 3 image intensifier technology for military and all levels of law enforcement. ITT Exelis gives you an edge by letting you identify threats, gather evidence and make critical decisions without being seen.