Teledyne FLIR Defense Announces Winners of 2022 Vision Awards

Event honors crew from Bernalillo County, New Mexico who died in tragic helicopter crash two weeks ago

RENO, Nev., July 29, 2022 ― Teledyne FLIR Defense announced the winners of the 27th Annual Vision Awards last night at the APSCON 2022 Conference in Reno, Nevada.

The Teledyne FLIR Vision Awards are presented to members of the airborne law enforcement community who have best demonstrated use of thermal imaging systems in carrying out their missions, whether pursuing suspects, search and rescue efforts, or saving lives. The awards are divided into four categories, including the FANG Award for operations involving a K9 support team.

This year’s winners are:

Vision Award 1st Place

Prince George's County (MD) Police Department

Pilot: Lieutenant Aaron Smith; Tactical Flight Officer (TFO): Corporal Christopher Elrod

Vision Award 2nd Place

Tampa (FL) Police Department

Pilot: Flight Officer Joe Blanco; TFO: Flight Officer Ryan Zenko

Vision Award 3rd Place

Michigan State Police

Pilot: Sergeant Nate McGuire; TFO: Trooper Tom Proffitt

Life Saver Award

Bernalillo County (NM) Sheriff's Office

Pilot: Undersheriff Larry Koren; TFO: Lieutenant Fred Beers

Hot Pursuit Award

King County (WA) Sheriff's Office

Pilot: Deputy Anthony Mullinax; TFO: Deputy Joe Sweeney

FANG Award

Sarasota (FL) County Sheriff's Office

Pilot: Deputy Pilot David Bouffard; TFO: Deputy Pilot Raymond Vleck

K9 Handler: Deputy Ryan McBride; Dog: Nox        

On July 16, 2022, Life Saver Award winners Undersheriff Larry Koren and Lt. Fred Beers, along with two others, died in the line of duty in a tragic helicopter crash. The officers were part of a crew that had just completed a firefighting mission and were returning to Albuquerque when the crash happened. The incident was unrelated to the mission highlighted in their winning Life Saver Award submission.  

“The Teledyne FLIR Vision Awards recognize the important work that the brave men and women in law enforcement undertake every day to keep communities across America safe,” said Dr. JihFen Lei, executive vice president of Teledyne FLIR Defense. “Undersheriff Koren and Lieutenant Beers are heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice serving the people of Bernalillo County, New Mexico. We honor their memory and are proud to salute the countless law enforcement officers across the country who put themselves in harm's way every day to protect others.”

Teledyne FLIR has presented the Vision Awards and sponsored the APSCON conference for more than 25 years. A panel of judges nominate finalists and choose the winners based on several criteria, including:

  • Crew coordination – how well did the aircrew communicate and manage the incident, both inside the cockpit and with ground officers?
  • Technical competence – skill-level shown around search techniques, anticipating suspect behavior, focus under pressure, and operating imaging systems.
  • The “FLIR Factor” – how instrumental were Teledyne FLIR cameras in completing the mission?

Videos of the winning submissions, showing how thermal imaging technology was used to aid operations, can be found below.

Vision Award First Place:

Vision Award Second Place:

Vision Award Third Place:

Life Saver Award:

Hot Pursuit Award:

FANG Award:

Visit us online to learn more about Teledyne FLIR’s Surveillance and imaging solutions for airborne, land and maritime applications.

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About Teledyne FLIR

Teledyne FLIR, a Teledyne Technologies company, is a world leader in intelligent sensing, unmanned systems, and integrated solutions for defense and industrial markets, with roughly 4,000 employees worldwide. Founded in 1978, the company develops a wide range of advanced technologies to help professionals make better, faster decisions that save lives and livelihoods. To learn more, visit or follow @flir. #AnyThreatAnywhere

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