Lexington police's helicopter unit helps Mercer sheriff locate missing girl

jmadden@herald-leader.comDecember 18, 2013 

Lexington police said a piece of fancy equipment helped them find a missing teenager on Tuesday afternoon.

The Mercer County Sheriff's Department called Lexington police to help search for a girl after she ran into a wooded area in the county, Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said.

Ernie Keltey, Mercer County sheriff, said the girl, 15, had gotten into an argument with her mother before running off.

Lexington police's helicopter unit was asked to help with the search because it has a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) system, a thermal imaging system. The Lexington police department is the only public safety agency in Central Kentucky with FLIR, Roberts said.

The unit helped find the girl near a creek within 20 minutes of police flying over the area, Sgt, Scott May said. He said the girl had been in the woods for about three hours and was wearing only a T-shirt and shorts when she was found. Ketley said the girl was treated at the scene and taken to a local hospital.

"It's a valuable tool that law enforcement has," May said of the FLIR system. "The department will lend any assistance to any agency in Kentucky who needs it."

Justin Madden: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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