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Cutting Edge: Cruising the Exhibits at the "Chief's Show"

Conference attendees were treated to a viewing of first- rate law enforcement products: possibly the largest gathering of vendors ever,

January 01, 1998  |  by Rebecca Stone

High- Tech

The haute couture of technology exacted a telling presence. With various hardware and software companies working together, interconnectedness appears to be the wave of the future. Representatives became patient instructors for the technically challenged (such as myself) as they demonstrated products, many of which are becoming increasingly user- friendly.

Laerdal medical Corp. out of New York, Survivalink Corp. of Minneapolis, and Physio- Control and Heartstream, both of Washington State, displayed defibrillators, designed for easy use by first responders, which police officers often are.

Kodak representatives demonstrated their digital Science DC 120 Zoom Digital Camera which can be used to quickly and easily document crime scenes or evidence, then can be download onto a computer and printed to photo quality.

ITT Night Vision introduced its mobile, high resolution Night cam 380ip Surveillance kit for law enforcement to use in low- light situations.

TRW previewed its latest developments in 911 dispatch, which links up with transportation management systems for efficient response to traffic- related incidents.

The harlequin Group representatives explained their PowerCase program, a case and information management system which can be used in conjunction with Watson, a mapping system, that can help in the spatial analysis of an investigation.

A fascinating array of fingerprinting systems was presented by companies including, TRW; Printrak International, Inc,; Indentix; and NEC Technologies.

Wireless technology was offered by vendors such as AT&T and GTE, while mobile computer products were displayed at the booths of vendors like Vision Tek; and Symi Solutions, Inc.

Training and Associations

Other vendors included those specialized in training, such as Mace Security International, which, in addition to the famous pepper spray, now offers five new training videos corresponding to the classes they offer, taught by law enforcement professionals. Calibre Press, Inc. also presented their training programs, books and products. FATS, Inc. was visibly (and audibly) present with its firearms training simulators. LETN (Law Enforcement TV Network), which provides education and training, actually had their cameras rolling throughout the event.

Besides the denizens of product- oriented booths, there were also a number of police- oriented associations and programs in attendance. Included were the American jail Association; American Society for Industrial Security; D.A.R.E. America; National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund; Police Executive Research Forum; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms/GREAT Program. The Department of Justice was also there representing several of their programs, as were other federal agencies.

Certainly for attendees, there was a lot to absorb. Many saw a trip to the exhibit hall as being one of the highlights of the conference.

Allison Parker, a police constable, from Lancashire Constabulary in England, was serving as a representative for Identix. When POLICE asked her opinion about the show, she replied, "The best think is the diversity of police equipment. It really shows us the wave of the future."

Police Sgt. Jack Baxter, from the same agency as Parker, agreed and added, "It's great seeing all the products not available to us in England."

While no selling was allowed in the hall, members of the law enforcement community got a chance to see innovations in countless products designed to make their jobs a little easier and safer. And the technology seems to change by the minute. Many of these products are so new and so cutting edge, they are not even on the market yet. But give them time. The products exhibited at the chief's show provided potential users not only a look at the here and now, but also a glimpse into the not- so- distant future.

Rebecca Stone is assistant editor of  POLICE.

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