Most of the police executives flying into New Orleans for October's International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) trade show and conference probably had no idea what to expect.
IACP plans its conference locations years in advance, and New Orleans was picked years before Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding nearly destroyed the city. But as cops from around the world arrived at Louis Armstrong International Airport, they wondered what the next few days would bring. After all, the city was still reeling even two years after the storm.
Fortunately, most of the officers in attendance soon discovered that, at least in the tourist areas of downtown and the French Quarter, New Orleans was both lively and welcoming. Perhaps it was the fact that the New Orleans Police Department and the Louisiana State Police were in such visible command of the streets, but attendees walked the streets with little fear of harassment.
Which was great. Attendees could explore the historic districts, bet hard-earned dollars in the downtown casinos, and sample Cajun and Creole cuisine in some of the finest restaurants in the world. And everywhere the attendees went, there was lots of music to be heard.
In fact jazz and Dixieland were the soundtrack of the entire show. The opening ceremonies were spiced by the tunes of a Dixieland combo. At Chief's Night inside the Superdome, attendees experienced a mini-Mardi Gras as carnival krewes paraded around the arena throwing beads to raucous N'awlins jazz. And there was even music on the show floor at the convention center. For example, a piano and guitar duo entertained the crowd inside the U.S. Armor booth.
What was also inside the U.S. Armor booth was one of the coolest ballistic shields that we have ever seen. You can read about TheShadowShield and other great products from this year's IACP below as we present our annual best of show wrap-up.
U.S. Armor: TheShadowShield-Enforcer
One of the coolest products on display in the New Orleans Convention Center was TheShadowShield, a device that can pretty much make a surveillance team invisible to their prey. The mirror finish of TheShadowShield reflects the surroundings, providing almost flawless camouflage for anyone or a group of anyones behind it. The polished acrylic face of the shield may also disorient a bad guy. It's got to be disturbing to face down officers behind a ballistic shield that reflects your own image. TheShadowShield comes in four-foot, five-foot, and six-foot versions. Removable ballistic panels with NIJ Level III and Level IV protection can be installed to make TheShadowShield suitable for active shooter response. Need FREEInfo? Use #22303.
FNH: SCAR Rifle
FNH USA announced at this year's IACP that the Special Combat Automatic Rifle (SCAR) is now available for law enforcement. The rifle, which was developed for United States Special Operation Command, comes in nine configurations. SCAR Light is in .223 Remington, and the SCAR Heavy uses .308 caliber ammunition. The SCAR is a truly innovative weapon. It features interchangeable barrels (close-quarter combat, standard, and long) that can be switched in less than five minutes. It also can accommodate a 40mm low-velocity grenade launcher that can fire a variety of law enforcement rounds. The SCAR is completely ambidextrous with an enhanced telescoping/folding stock. Need FREEInfo? Use #22302.
Trijicon: RedDot Sight
Trijicon showed its reflex style red-dot sight with a full lifetime warranty. It features an ultra-clear acrylic lens with hard coating for scratch resistance, a hardened composite housing for durability, and bright LED illumination with auto-adjust for any lighting condition. The sight is shock rated to 5,000 grams. Need FREEInfo? Use #22304.
PACA Body Armor: Blue Steel
The unusual design of the Blue Steel vest features front and back triangular plate pouches and lightweight breathable construction. It looks futuristic, but the vest is based on the here and now, incorporating the latest ballistic and temperature regulating technology. The vest has an inner shell lining made of Phase Change Materials that interact with the wearer's body for temperature regulation. Front and rear shirt tails on the carrier are made of Wick-Away moisture-wicking fabric for improved comfort. The Blue Steel also boasts a special suspension system that prevents the ballistic panel from rolling and sagging. Need FREEInfo? Use #22305.
Supreme Specialty Vehicles: Avenger Armored Vehicle
If you need some heavy metal thunder for your SWAT team, the SSV Avenger can supply it. It seats 10 to 12 fully equipped operators behind Level III armor. The four-wheel-drive armored car is built on a GM chassis with a GM 5500 diesel engine that produces 300 horsepower and a six-speed Allyson transmission. The combination gives the Avenger enough power and traction to reach highway speeds of up to 70 mph. Need FREEInfo? Use #22306.
Survival Armor: Trident Ballistic Vest
It's unlikely that every officer reading this report has a need for a ballistic vest with a built-in flotation system. But if you are one of the few who does need such a thing, Survival Armor's Trident bears a close look. The Level IIIA vest is designed to keep the wearer buoyant in an upright or swimming position, and it won't lose buoyancy even when hit with bullets or fragments. The carrier is water repellent and incorporates a full MOLLE attachment system. Need FREEInfo? Use #22307.
Laser Technology: LTI 20/20 TruSpeed
Laser Technology's new LTI 20/20 TruSpeed LIDAR device is perhaps the easiest to use speed gun on the market. The TruSpeed offers speed accuracy of plus or minus one mile per hour and a range of 2,000 feet. The system features Laser Technology's proprietary Accuracy Validation Process, which automatically verifies the accuracy of each measurement before it displays. It also features a weather mode that increases performance in inclement weather and a quick self-check that tells the operator that the system is working properly. The TruSpeed even has a laser jammer detection feature. Need FREEInfo? Use #22308.
Aimpoint: Concealed Engagement Unit
Officers who want to look around corners and have the option of delivering aimed fire will want to check out Aimpoint's new Concealed Engagement Unit. The $377 CEU provides an alternative to mirrors and much more expensive video sight systems for officers who use Aimpoint sights on their rifles. Originally prototyped in 2005, the CEU was re-engineered to fix some concerns voiced by users. The sight module is now much smaller and easier to use than the prototype design. The stabilized internal optics have also been optimized for better image quality. You can rotate the CEU up to 260 degrees for looking around right or left corners and for looking into stairwells and attics. The CEU attaches with Aimpoint's TwistMount system, so it can be easily shared by operators. Need FREEInfo? Use #22309.
Meggitt Training Systems: Thermal 3D Target
Sometimes companies come up with cool solutions for problems that don't really exist. Perhaps Meggitt Training Systems' new Thermal 3-D Personnel Target is such a product. Very few law enforcement agencies have thermal imaging gun sights, so there's not that great a need for a thermal target for law enforcement ranges. (Military ranges may be another story, but IACP is a law enforcement show.) The Thermal 3-D Personnel Target radiates heat through a mesh of wires below its plastic skin. It's designed to help shooters learn how to acquire targets through thermal imaging sights. Meggitt says the target can take a serious pounding from rifle rounds before it has to be replaced. Need FREEInfo? Use #22310.
Rotomotion: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Rotomotion designs, manufactures, and operates helicopter robots (a.k.a. UAVs) that can be used for surveillance, research, and aerial photography. The cool thing about these systems is that they are reasonably priced and easy to use. You don't even need to know how to "fly" a UAV with the provided joystick-type control because you can program a flightplan instead. Rotomotion's smallest and most affordable system of the three available, the SR20 runs on an electric propulsion motor and carries up to 10 pounds. The four-foot-long robot travels at up to 25 knots and uses patented stable hover technology to obtain steady video from any camera mounted onboard. Numerous video display and downlink options are available and you can even purchase a one-year software maintenance subscription. Need FREEInfo? Use #22311.
Avon Protection Systems: C50 CBRN Mask
The C50 is Avon's law enforcement version of its top-of-the-line military gas mask. One of the most innovative features of this mask is its highly flexible, scratch- and impact-resistant visor, which gives the user a non-distorted field of view. You can even add prescription lenses to the visor. Communications features are also built into the C50. The front-mounted exhale valve allows for clear spoken communications and, for radio communications, the mask is fitted with an electronic communication port. While protection is a given concern for a gas mask, Avon also put a lot of thought into making the mask comfortable. The C50 is lightweight, and it comes in three sizes for a secure fit. The wearer can use a canteen or a hydration system with the mask. Need FREEInfo? Use #22312.
To enhance visibility beyond reflective tape, Blauer has introduced GlowSkin, which creates its own light from a computerized lithium-ion battery. Reflective tape requires, well, reflection, from a light source such as car headlights to work. GlowSkin, which is currently available in either a zip-up or pullover vest, gives off a greenish glow whenever turned on. Featuring a battery runtime of a solid eight hours, officers can feel safely visible on roadsides during traffic stops or collision investigations, even in daylight. The small battery pack is durable and watertight, so rainy weather isn't a problem. In fact, the GlowSkin battery pack will soon be a modular option in Blauer's rainwear. Need FREEInfo? Use #22313.
Cogent Systems: BlueCheck Mobile Fingerprint Scanner
Cogent Systems' tiny fingerprint scanner weighs about three ounces and measures 4.45 x 1.69 x 0.87 inches. Using Bluetooth communication, BlueCheck can remotely transfer secured captured fingerprint data to any COTS Bluetooth-enabled PDA, laptop, or cell phone. This modular feature enables law enforcement agencies to configure BlueCheck with their existing equipment and infrastructure. With Cogent's BlueCheck host applications, the host device can submit ANSI-NIST format files via SMTP or FTP to a remote server or to a statewide Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). BlueCheck receives the search results from the host and displays the results on its LCD display, providing timely and accurate information. Need FREEInfo? Use #22314.
GE Security: MobileTrace
Have you ever wanted to check a crime scene for a wide range of both explosives and narcotics in one go? GE Security's MobileTrace is a handheld, portable detector that lets you do just that, in seconds. It uses a patented simultaneous dualmode technology to detect both negative and positive ions to cover a wide range of explosives. The system also analyzes both particle swipes and vapor. A nozzle on the front of the device draws vapors directly into the system for analysis. MobileTrace was designed for easy operation with sampling controls on top and back and a 3.5-inch color screen that offers five display options, including 3D view. Need FREEInfo? Use #22315.