After a one-year detour to Baltimore, the TREXPO East trade show and conference returned to Chantilly, Va., this August. And almost everyone involved welcomed the change.
The smaller, suburban Dulles Expo Center offers easier access than the convention center in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, and the show drew SWAT, patrol, and corrections officers from throughout the Washington, D.C., region. The new venue also has ample free parking, a feature that was greatly appreciated by the attendees.
Among the attractions at this year's TREXPO East were a wide variety of new tactical equipment, gear, and accessories on display in the Expo Center. Here are some of the highlights:
Bickford Broadcast Vehicles showed a new public safety communications package that can be mounted into any number of police vehicles, including SWAT trucks, SUVs, and mobile command units. The system includes a collapsing 54-foot radio mast equipped with a surveillance camera, a fold-down satellite dish, and a 5-kilowatt generator. All of this equipment provides an agency with multiple land and wireless phone lines, multiple-band radio communications, and local and satellite television reception.
Police Utility Knife
Strider Knives has launched a joint project with Buck Knives to develop a folding knife specifically for police applications. The new police utility knife is designed for safe but fast two-hand opening and features a proprietary blade surface called Positive Deployment Texturing. It has a 3.59-inch long, drop point blade with serrations for cutting through webbing.
Second Chance Body Armor and the German anti-terrorist team GSG9 have teamed up on a new body armor design for tactical teams. The new GSG armor is made of Xylon and offers NIJ Level IIIA protection. But its real innovation is its carrier. The carrier, which can be manufactured in a number of fabrics, including water-resistant Goretex and fire-resistant Nomex, has pockets at the abdomen, groin, and sides for hard plates. The plates offer SK 4 protection and will stop armor-piercing ammunition.
Walking On Air
Original SWAT is now selling a light but tough air sole boot for a variety of police applications. The Air series boots include a low-cut trainer, a mid-cut trainer, and a 9-inch side-zip model. All of the boots feature athletic shoe outsoles for outstanding traction and stability. In addition, the boots are designed not to trigger metal detectors, so that officers won't be hassled going into security zones.
AirMunition is now offering a powder-propelled simulation round to complement the standard AirMunition system. The Pyro-Safe line of AirMunition ammo is designed for outdoor training scenarios and can be fired through any semi-auto pistol modified with an AirMunition barrel. Like the standard reusable AirMunition air-propelled rounds, the disposable Pyro-Safe line offers both plastic projectiles and marking rounds.
General Dynamics has developed a new tracking, reporting, and positioning system for public safety agencies. General Dynamics C4 Sentinel System is a distributed and expandable system that shows dispatchers and shift commanders the exact location of assets in real time. In addition, Sentinel can run on laptops in police units to show responders the location of other officers.
Tactical cameras come with a lot of attachments and options these days, but what's really needed is a way to share the image with command staff and others away from the scene. That's the idea behind the new satellite uplink feature in the Zistos system. The camera is ideal for bomb techs who need to send images to explosive ordnance disposal experts and for SWAT teams who need immediate tactical advice.
Performance Textiles is now offering its line of clothing designed for EMS workers to police. The company's BodyGardz fabric is fluid repellent and anti-microbial, and it is now available in a fire-retardant tactical coverall in navy, black, and sage. Other products in the company's new BodyGardz police line include a long-sleeve pullover and a windbreaker. Both of these garments are available in navy, black, and flourescent yellow.
One of the more unusual products on display at TREXPO East was the G-Man portable explosives containment device from Galaxy Aviation Security. Although the G-Man looks for all the world like a really well built trash receptacle, the 300-pound (it's on wheels), 39-inch high device is designed to be placed in secure areas such as an airport for immediate removal of small suspicious packages. The G-Man has been tested to withstand up to 2.5 pounds of TNT and its exterior has been tested to stop nails, ball bearings, and other common bomb projectiles.
Protech has developed a lighter, more comfortable version of its popular Delta Force tactical helmet. At 2 pounds, the new helmet is a full pound lighter than Protech's other Delta Force helmets, but it's still tough. The NIJ level IIIA helmet is constructed of Spectra.
It's no secret that thermal detection devices are becoming smaller and smaller and more likely to be found on patrol officers' belts in the near future. With Sidewinder Tactical Systems' Rattler One, the future may have arrived. The Rattler One is easy to use, it's the size of a small flashlight, and it can detect a human heat signature at up to 500 feet (under the right environmental conditions). When the device finds a heat source, it vibrates silently in the user's hand. Designed for suspect tracking, tactical intelligence gathering, and search and rescue, the Rattler One operates on a single "C" size battery.