Raytheon’s First Responder mobile communications system is made for crisis situations.
Large trade shows can be overwhelming for everyone involved. They are a blur of seminars, awards banquets, industry schmooze sessions, and aisle after aisle of exhibits and demonstrations. Such was the case with October's International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) show in Minneapolis.
Here's our editors' choices for some of the most intriguing new or newly discovered products at the IACP show.
Perhaps the flashiest piece of critical incident gear at the show was the new First Responder mobile communications system from Raytheon. The First Responder was developed to meet the needs of police and fire departments at major incidents, including terrorist attacks. Using software and numerous pieces of radio and satellite hardware, the First Responder can receive and transmit across numerous bands of communications-satellite, radio, cell phone, and wireless- ensuring that commanders in the field are never out of touch with headquarters, officers on the scene, fire and rescue personnel, or even the news media. The First Responder can be installed in the agency's existing vehicles or bought in a turnkey system that includes the vehicle.
Hit the Showers
On an equally grand scale, Kohler showed off its new mobile decontamination system for WMD and HazMat incidents. Mobile Decon was designed with the cooperation of the U.S. Army's Biological Task Force and offers a six-step showering and cleansing process in the privacy of an enclosed trailer.
Is it Anthrax?
The toughest job facing WMD units is not decontamination after a WMD event; it's recognizing that one is taking place before mass casualties are evident. GenPrime has a new tool, Prime Alert, that can help first responders determine if a mysterious powder is bath talc or bacterial spores. The test kit fits in a portable hard case, and is easy to administer.
Cop in a Box
Supreme Corp.’s Mobile Armored Device (MAD) is a ballistic-resistant, foot-driven tactical vehicle that fits up to two officers.
Much of the tactical equipment that's rolled out at police trade shows is so exotic and expensive that it's well beyond the reach of small agencies. This is especially true of mobile armored equipment. For those agencies who can't afford an armored vehicle but need a mobile armored tool, Goshen, Ind.-based Supreme Corp. may have a solution. Supreme's Mobile Armored Device (MAD) is essentially an armored box on wheels. Constructed of aluminum and Kevlar for Level 3 ballistic resistance, MAD is a foot-driven tactical vehicle that is small enough to fit in a standard elevator. It accommodates two officers and features numerous gun ports for counter fire.
Testing for the presence of explosives is quick and easy with Mistral Security's Expray. The Expray field test kit is an aerosol system that can be used to detect TNT, TNB, Semtex H, RDX, C4, and improvised nitrate explosives such as fertilizer bombs. Mistral also makes a test kit of sprays for detecting cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, and heroin.
Comfort and Joy
DuPont made an announcement at IACP that it has made a breakthrough in Kevlar technology that will produce lighter, more flexible body armor with the same ballistic capabilities of current models. Kevlar Comfort XLT is reportedly 20 percent lighter than current Kevlar formulations. The new lighter weight Kevlar is expected to reach the market in 2003 when DuPont licenses the technology to the makers of ballistic vests.
Although there were several new guns on the IACP floor and a lucky few attendees even saw glimpses of models that were still under wraps, one of the most popular new weapons was the FNP 9 pistol from FNH USA. The polymer-framed FNP 9 is the first handgun to be released under the FNH USA banner and features an ambidextrous manual decocking lever, reversible magazine catch, hammer-fired double- and single-action mechanism, and a firing pin safety. Chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W (available next year), the FNP 9 weighs just 25 ounces and has a four-inch barrel.
Sensors and Software’s Noggin uses radar to detect buried evidence.
Sensors and Software's Noggin looks a lot like the business end of a lawn mower, but it doesn't cut the grass. It cuts much deeper. Noggin is a ground penetrating radar system that your agency can use to locate buried evidence, including bodies in shallow graves.
Scalar Law Enforcement’s ProScope captures magnified images as stills or video.
Forensic investigators at IACP should have taken note of Scalar Law Enforcement's ProScope. Both a 200X microscope and a digital camera, the ProScope connects to a Windows or Macintosh computer via a USB cable to capture magnified images of evidence in real time. The images can be recorded as stills, video, or time-lapse, and they can be e-mailed. Using a C-mount adapter, the ProScope attaches to analog cameras, microscopes, and telescopes.
I See You
Cisco’s Mobile Access Router provides a wireless connection to officers in the field so they can receive and send information fast.
In terms of officer safety, Cisco Systems launched one of the most innovative tools at the show. Cisco's new Mobile Access Router offers uninterrupted and secure wireless connectivity so that officers in the field can receive mission critical information on their way to a call. For example, video of a crime scene can be relayed by first responders to officers en route so that they know what to expect when they arrive. The technology is currently being tested by the Seal Beach (Calif.) Police Department.
Tritech rolled out its Voyager Mobile system earlier in the summer, but IACP offered many officers a first look at the new solution. Voyager Mobile operates on most commercial data networks and links computer-aided dipatch systems to in-vehicle computers. The program combines mapping, status messaging, and forms. It also allows messaging between units, dispatch, and officers outside of their cars who carry PDAs.