Nighttime surveillance is a key task for all law enforcement organizations. Traditional light intensification night vision systems suffer from poor sensitivity in extremely low light level situations, and are prone to blooming if an unexpected bright source intrudes upon the field of view. Thermal imagers detect infrared radiation emitted by all objects in proportion to the target's temperature, and are effective even in total darkness. However, until recently, most commercially available systems required cryogenic cooling, resulting in long start up times as Stirling engines drove the infrared detectors down to operating temperatures. This operational delay, combined with the audible noise emitted by many cryogenically cooled systems, resulted in systems which were less than optimum for law enforcement applications. This paper will describe a new uncooled microbolometer based infrared camera suitable for surveillance requirements. Basic microbolometer focal plane technology will be reviewed, and a description of its implementation into a hand held uncooled thermal imaging systems will be presented.