Police tactical conferences and expos present golden opportunities for you to see and learn firsthand about the newest tactical products available. TREXPO East 2007, the biggest TREXPO to date, treated attendees to a dazzling array of the newest SWAT/Tactical products on the market.
Count me among the many attendees impressed and even awed by the many new products designed to help improve police effectiveness and safety. This stuff is a total contrast to my early days as a cop back in the “dark ages” before semi-auto pistols, portable radios, cell phones, car computers, body armor, etc.—much of what’s considered standard equipment today.
Back in the early SWAT years, most teams adapted, improvised, and developed equipment as needed. Usually this job fell to some “tech savvy” SWAT operator whose jerry-rigged creation was hit or miss but, in some instances, destined to become some of the equipment you use today.
Thankfully, this dearth of equipment is no longer true today in the TREXPO East expo hall, where I checked out some of the newest equipment offerings and have selected a small number for review.
Time and space do not allow review of every product/vendor at TREXPO, and for that, I offer my apologies. The products selected are those that caught my eye, because they’re either new or different or both, and are designed to enhance officer safety. The list is selective and not in any order of significance. So, here goes:
This multi-purpose, specialty armored vehicle is designed to safely close the gap in confined areas. Tracked and armored (level III/IV) with hydraulic breaching and extracting capability, an infrared camera, a chemical agent delivery system, and the ability to carry personnel behind protection into the hot zone, the Juggernaut is a serious piece of SWAT equipment. Designed by an active SWAT operator from Washington state, the Juggernaut is far more than a supplement to existing armored vehicles. Its compact design allows it to deploy where regular AVs can’t, including inside some buildings. And woe unto the suspect who thinks his attic, basement, and/or crawl space hiding place is “safe”, because the Juggernaut can penetrate through roofs, walls, doors, windows, etc.
The Spiller Group
This multi-purpose specialty armored vehicle was designed for confined areas. Tracked, armored (level III), with interchangeable options, including elevated armored personnel deployment and shooting platform and breaching and extracting tools, the “Rook” supplements existing armored rescue vehicles.
Both The “Juggernaut” and The “Rook” represent the cutting edge of the next generation of specialty armored vehicles, doing what standard AVs aren’t designed to do and both are destined to become standard equipment for SWAT teams that can afford these tools.
QuikClot’s Advanced Clotting Sponge has been re-engineered to stay cooler on contact. This new, improved QuikClot product almost instantly stops bleeding, even on a femoral artery. Small and light enough (only a few ounces) for every officer, regardless of assignment, especially tactical medics, to carry and use, this is a “must have” for your warbag. It is a lifesaving item that has proven combat effective, saving lives, in Iraq/Afghanistan, and will definitely save many police lives too.
• Tactical Medical Packs
This emergency first-aid kit includes QuikClot and other items, includes gloves, bandage, gauze, ab pad, mask, triangular bandage, dressing, CPR microshield. It’s a lifesaving medical tool, compact/lightweight enough for individuals to carry—especially Tactical Medics. The company also makes the Individual Battle Pack, which contains additional advanced medical supplies for qualified medics. Further information can be found at www.traumapacks.com.
Both of the preceding Tactical Medical kits have proven to be successful lifesavers in real-world combat. Once again, the military is leading the way with tactical emergency medicine, just as it did with developing America’s emergency medical system. Emergency care products such as QuikClot should be mandatory carry for all police, regardless of assignment—for one simple reason, they save lives.
Wiley X Eyewear
Protective Tactical Goggles
These goggles are great. They offer ballistic polycarbonate non-distortion lenses, UVA/B protection, anti-fog, a variety of lenses—including clear, smoke, and prescription)—an adjustable elastic strap, and they fit with ballistic helmets. The SG-1 and especially the SG-1 V-Cut models are very low profile, designed for SWAT/tactical/military operators to wear under combat conditions.
Today’s SWAT officers gear up with ballistic protection from head-to-toe; however, sometimes the eyes are overlooked. We only have two eyes, and SWAT operations are filled with numerous unexpected dangers to the eyes.
All it takes is one wood, metal, or glass splinter, or a bullet fragment penetrating your eye to knock you totally out of commission and quite possibly end your SWAT/police career. Ballistic eye protection should be mandatory for anyone in SWAT, just as ballistic armor and helmets should be. With so many excellent protective eyewear products available today (like Wiley X), there is no valid excuse for not wearing ballistic eye protection.
You want to see something cool? Check this out. The Recon Scout is a throwable reconnaissance robot, about the size of a soda pop can, lightweight, easily carried, with a remote control screen to see into hidden areas. Sturdy and tough, made of titanium and aircraft aluminum, the Recon Scout is drop resistant from 30 feet and throw-shock resistant from 120 feet. It can send valuable intelligence video at the following ranges: 350 feet outdoors, 100 feet indoors.
The Recon Scout is “whisper quiet,” and the hand control is joystick operated. It’s so easy to operate that even someone “mechanically challenged” (like me) can operate and deploy it effectively almost immediately. The “Recon Scout” does what mirrors once did, and does it remotely and far safer than mirrors ever could. This has to be one of the most versatile, innovative “search” inventions to date, especially since it can be redeployed repeatedly wherever needed, including attics, crawl spaces, basements, and other hard to see locations. Recon Scout is a “tunnel rat’s” dream come true.
MARS/RAID Elevated Tactical Systems and Mobile Ballistic Barrier Systems
The MARS/RAID elevated tactical systems are designed for elevated entries (second, third floors, aircraft, etc.). They are hydraulically controlled, height adjustable, operator friendly, and accessible. They’re also stable, even when deploying a full SWAT stack with equipment, tools, and weapons.
Different models can be adapted to a variety of vehicles, including SWAT vans and armored vehicles. While these elevated tactical systems aren’t brand new, they are new enough that the SWAT community is still evaluating their usefulness and effectiveness. I think that, especially for heavily fortified locations, elevated entries offer SWAT the all-important element of surprise to defeat an entrenched or inaccessible adversary.
Patriot3’s Mobile Ballistic Barrier System takes the concept of ballistic protection to a higher level. These are stand-alone ballistic (level III/IV) panels, that come in three height sizes: 40 inches, 60 inches, and 80 inches. The panels, which also come with optional view ports, can be connected to each other, effectively forming “solid ballistic perimeter walls” for whatever size is needed.
Officers operating behind Mobile Ballistic Barrier Systems do so in greatly increased safety. Suspects are presented with daunting physical barriers that effectively help channel their movement to where you want them to go, and that’s a clear tactical advantage.
The Baker Batshield is an innovative protective product ideally suited for response to active shooters, as well as, SWAT operations. The uniquely shaped Batshield offers the user the advantage of being able to maneuver and operate while using a long gun. Other innovative features include the shield’s tapered edge and soft covering, which permits stealthier movement and better maneuverability, especially in confined spaces. This is a shield designed to be used on the move, and it’s a worthy complement to existing SWAT shields. The Batshield’s inventor is Al Baker, retired NYPD ESU Lieutenant, with many years of shield experience during high-risk incidents.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this column, the preceding products represent only a fraction of the many new and sorta new products that were on display at TREXPO East.
Some of the products reviewed require agency approval and are costly. While some of the other products that we’ve discussed are so affordable that individual officers can buy, and they probably don’t need approval. And remember, even the armored vehicle that I have discussed are attainable if you can get federal Homeland Security money.
All of these products have one thing in common: They’re designed to protect the police who protect society. Despite what doubters may say about SWAT “toys”, if only one life is saved, the cost will be well worth it. You owe it to yourself to check out these and other new products to see if they’re right for you and your team.
Ultimately, it is you—the SWAT and street cops—who have the final say, whether these or any other products, can pass the only valid test, the one that you will conduct on the street against real-life bad guys and in real world emergency situations.
For more information on the TREXPO West show and conference scheduled for February in Long Beach, Calif., go to www.TREXPO.com.