At facilities around the world, security officers rely on night vision goggles to detect illegal activity and ensure that they can neutralize threats safely — especially when the situation escalates.

On a hot August night, Sergeant Donald Bedra was working a surveillance detail alone, in a railroad yard noted as a high-crime area. About 100 yards away, he noticed a small group of about five people enter the yard and sit in a patch of high, thick weeds. Sgt. Bedra notified a dispatcher that he had spotted people in the area. The dispatcher advised him that there was only one unit available for backup. He told the dispatcher to send the unit and wait for his signal.

Slowly, Sgt. Bedra moved closer to investigate the situation further. The suspects had broken into a boxcar containing electronics; he could see them unloading the boxcar and carrying the boxes on their heads up the nearby hill, then coming back down. Sgt. Bedra decided to scan the area once more with night vision equipment before moving in. At that point, he observed three subjects with shotguns sitting in the weeds, spaced out along the path they were using. He also noted that two of the subjects unloading the boxcar were carrying hand guns.

Sgt. Bedra had a weighty decision to make. He was only carrying a 0.38 caliber revolver and had one rookie officer for backup. The odds were against them, so he decided to cut their losses. Sgt. Bedra knew that there are times to be brave and times to be safe; this situation was a time to be safe. Bedra told his backup to turn on the patrol car’s siren and lights from his location. The subjects all fled, leaving most of the items they had tried to steal on the ground.

“If I had not had the night vision equipment that night, I would have not have seen the three subjects with shotguns and the other two with hand guns,” Deputy Sheriff Bedra said.“ We probably would not have survived the attempted arrest.”

In situations like the one Sgt. Bedra faced, reliable night vision can be of vital importance. Harris’ Generation 3 tubes don’t degrade like cheaper alternatives and provide those who use it with cutting-edge features like, mapping, command text messaging, target information and with video input from weapon sights.

When your mission depends on illuminating the situation, Harris i-Aware® won’t leave you in the dark.

Please note that this account does not reflect a product endorsement by Sgt. Bedra, who is retired.