At each TREXPO trade show, the staff of Police fans out into the aisles in search of the most innovative police products on display at the show. Some shows are better than others.
This year's TREXPO East, held Aug. 29 through Sept. 1 in Chantilly, Va., was an exceptional show. There were so many interesting new police products that we really had our hands full. These are our choices for the coolest of the cool.
Special Tactical Armor Group: Sentinel Armored Vehicle
Usually armored vehicles are some of the coolest things on the TREXPO show floor. Special Tactical Armor Group's Sentinel is no exception. Built on a Ford F-550 chassis, the Sentinel weighs 12,300 pounds and can carry an additional 7,200 pounds of personnel and gear. The Sentinel can transport 10 to 12 operators into a hazardous area and shield them from AK-47 fire. In addition, the Sentinel features a manually engaged assault ladder system that can be deployed in less than 10 minutes by four operators. And you won't have to crawl down the street in the Sentinel. It cruises at 80 miles per hour.
Dayton Tactical: LHG1 Shotgun Grip
There are a lot of accessories available for pump shotguns, but one that caught our eye recently at TREXPO East was Dayton Tactical's LHG1 removable holder and grip. Daytac's glass-filled polycarbonate plastic grip fits onto the forestock of any Remington shotgun, giving the user the ability to mount any Stinger-size flashlight. It's extremely lightweight, and it's also an excellent handgrip that will aid the user in pumping and aiming the weapon. The LHG1 can be attached at any point on the forestock of a Remington shotgun; it attaches easily and locks in place via a single tightening screw. Although the LHG1 is currently only available for Remington shotguns, Daytac says that it is working on models that will fit Mossberg and Benelli guns.
Smartcuff: Handcuffs with Digital Memory
Does the world really need a handcuff with a digital memory? The folks at Smartcuff think so. The Smartcuff is a 128MB digital data storage device that integrates with standard flexcuff disposable handcuffs. Smartcuff allows you to record data about the prisoner that he or she carries with him through the system. You can store forms, photographs, audio, video, and biometrics about the prisoner on the Smartcuff. At each stage of processing, this information can be accessed via just about any computer, including handheld models, that has a USB port.
Kilgore Ammunition Products: Ultra-Frag Enviro-Safe Ammo
You can't exactly test the ballistics of specialty ammo on a trade show floor. That said, however, we have to say that the video demos of Kilgore Ammunition Products' injection-molded frangible ammo are very impressive. Kilgore offers a variety of ammo types, including range and tactical rounds in just about any small arms caliber. This stuff fragments on impact, preventing ricochet hazards; it doesn't penetrate ballistic armor; it doesn't penetrate beyond the target, and, if the gelatin tests are accurate, it makes a massive hole in a flesh-and-blood target. In addition, Kilgore says its new ammo causes less wear and tear on gun barrels than standard ball ammo.
Performance Systems: Odor Screen
Let's face it, there are times when being a cop stinks, literally. You deal with all kinds of foul smells: homeless perps who haven't washed since "Beverly 90210" was a new hit TV show, drunks who have upchucked all over themselves, old and lonely people who die and decompose in their apartments. I could go on, but who needs to be reminded of these smells? A new product called Odor Screen from Performance Systems could make many of these smells...well...a memory. Odor Screen is a vanilla-scented petroleum jelly that you can rub on your upper lip to reduce the nauseating effects of any protein-based odor, including feces, vomit, burned flesh, and decomposing flesh. And unlike many other odor blockers, Odor Screen lets the user smell non-protein-based odors that are pleasant or hazardous. One application of Odor Screen should last two hours.
DuPont: Tychem Thermo Pro
In this age of meth labs and potential terrorist attacks, cops need serious hazmat protection. Unfortunately, many hazmat suits do not protect the wearer from fire, and fire is a prevalent danger in meth lab raids and investigations. Many officers have countered this concern by wearing Nomex fire-resistant clothing underneath their chem protective suits. But a really bad thing happens when you wear a DuPont Tyvek chem suit in a flash fire. The suit melts onto your body, and not even Nomex can protect you from serious burns caused by molten plastic. This is why DuPont has now developed Tychem ThermoPro, a suit that blends Tychem's chemical protectiom with Nomex fire protection. In a flash fire, Tychem ThermoPro will not melt. The result is a hazmat suit that can mean the difference between relatively minor burns and an extended stay in a burn ward.
Shield Defense: Cobra StunLight
The Cobra StunLight is a lot like another product that you've seen before. It's a bright, rechargeable LED flashlight with an OC canister that you can trigger without dropping the light. However, unlike other OC/flashlight systems, the Cobra StunLight delivers its OC surprise through the lens of the light. This means that the user does not have to manipulate the light in order to bring the OC to bear. There are separate buttons for the OC and the light. The light engages with a standard recessed button in the barrel. The OC trigger is farther forward on the barrel. In order to fire the OC, the user must flip up a lid that covers a red button and push it. Our staff made numerous attempts to accidentally trigger the OC, but couldn't do it. Another great feature of the Cobra StunLight is its aiming laser. This laser has the potential to intimidate a subject into compliance before you have to deploy the OC. The Cobra StunLight is available in both compact and long sizes.
Cobb Manufacturing: FA50 Rifle
The .50 BMG rifle market just got more crowded with the introduction of the Cobb FA50. Based on an AR-15 design, the FA50 is a straight-pull, bolt-action rifle that's available with a 22-inch or 30-inch Lothar-Walther barrel. The Cobb FA50 has a lot of the look and feel of an AR-15; it even breaks down like an AR. Cobb says the FA50 offers 1-MOA accuracy with commercial ball ammo. The FA50's Armalite muzzle brake and its considerable mass reduce recoil from the .50 BMG round to about the equivalent of a .243 hunting rifle.
Audiopack: TriCom Communications System
Officers who have tried to use their radios while wearing gas masks may want to check out Audiopack's TriCom Communications System. Audiopack says the TriCom, which mounts onto any standard respirator, offers clear voice communications for protective mask users regardless of background noise. The TriCom system features a proprietary audio filter that enhances the voice signal from outside the mask so that voice transmissions are crisp and clear while the operator maintains mask integrity. The system is compatible with most two-way radios.