The annual trade show of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is not usually a place to see great patrol products. Of all law enforcement trade shows, IACP is the one where you are most likely to find computer-aided dispatch software, scheduling software, helicopters, command vehicles, and other big ticket items.
But this year's IACP show held in October at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center had a major patrol theme: officer safety. From an airbag system for motor officers to armor panels for patrol vehicles, IACP 2006 was a showcase for new products that are designed to help you come home all in one piece at the end of your shift.
The following is a quick look at some of the officer safety, officer comfort, and just cool and unusual products that we saw at this year's IACP.
5.11 Tactical Gladiator Patrol Glove
The new Gladiator glove from 5.11 Tactical is made from deerskin leather lined with Spectra knit, a cut- and-slash resistant material. It is designed to provide slash resistance for duty yet retain a high level of dexterity through the company's TacticalTouch finger design. Available in black and sizes small to 2XL. Other gloves in the company's new line include tactical gloves, flight gloves, and two other patrol glove models.
American Body Armor Fuzion Vests with Dyneema's SB61
American Body Armor announced at IACP that it has chosen DSM Dyneema's new SB61 ballistic material for its new Fuzion line of soft body armor, which debuted at IACP. Dyneema is an ultra strong polyethylene fiber. SB61 is a Dyneema unidirectional composite made of several layers of Dyneema fibers, with the direction of fibers in each layer placed perpendicular to those in adjacent layers. This configuration allows the energy transferred from the impact of a bullet or other threat to be distributed along the fibers much more quickly and efficiently than in conventional, woven fabrics, re-ducing blunt trauma. SB61 is designed to offer light weight and flexibility for maximum comfort and agility.
BlackHawk Night Ops Illumination Tools
BlackHawk Night Ops is known for its Gladius tactical flashlight. New additions to the company's illumination tool line include the Legacy, Professional, and Warrior series. The Duo-PXL-6, from the Professional series, provides two types of light output. A low-light output of nine lumens through the integration of three low-power LEDs into the bezel design and a high-output Xenon bulb with 65 lumens of light output. It weighs only 4.23 ounces.
Digital-Ally In-Car Digital Video System
To combat the physical and visual clutter in patrol cars today, a company called Digital-Ally has created an in-car video system integrated into a rearview mirror. Nothing needs to be mounted in the trunk, console, headliner, or dash. Installation involves replacing a car's standard rear-view mirror with Digital-Ally. The sys-tem includes a color monitor, GPS, 900MHz audio transceiver, internal mi-crophone, and speaker. The unit comes standard with a 4GB CompactFlash card that provides up to 16 hours of audio and video recording.
Elbeco Uf/x Police Polos
Elbeco introduced its Uf/x Performance Polo shirts at IACP. The Uf/x line in-cludes two models: the Uf/x Tactical Polo and Uf/x Uniform Polo. Both are con-structed from a special microfiber polyes-ter fabric that feels more like cotton than a synthetic fiber. The fabric wicks mois-ture like other microfiber fabrics, and it's also snag resistant. The Uf/x polos both feature X-EEDE odor control to reduce the need for washing and extend the life of the shirts.
FATS Self-Contained Law Enforcement Training System
FATS Inc. formally debuted its most recent product innovation for the law enforcement market, the Self-Contained Law Enforcement Training System, at IACP. The Self-Contained Law Enforcement Training System is a portable train-ing unit with complete FATS functional-ity, including FATS' extensive DVD courseware that provides realistic virtual training in vital skills such as verbal commands, escalation and de-escalation of force, marksmanship, and less-lethal weapons use. Components include a 17-inch LCD monitor and keyboard, speaker, projector, hit-detect camera and joystick, all housed in a resilient polyethylene case.
ICX New Heights Skywatch
Agencies looking for a way to gain over-sight on crowds and critical incidents may want to take a look at the Sky Watch line of mobile surveillance platforms from ICX New Heights. The generator-driven platforms can rise to an elevation of more than 20 feet. Some models have air condi-tioning, armor protection (up to NIJ Level IV), gun ports, command center commu-nications and computers, and floodlights. Each Sky Watch model is built into a trailer that can be towed by a three-quarter-ton truck.
Impact Jackets Motorcycle Airbag Jacket
Already a hit at European agencies, Impact Jackets' motorcycle airbag jacket is designed to inflate hidden airbags when an officer is jettisoned from his motorcycle. A lanyard on the jacket must be attached to the frame of the motorcycle while riding. If the lanyard detaches from the bike with 25 to 35 pounds of force, a CO2 cartridge activates, deploying the airbags inside the jacket. Available in nylon and leather models, the impact jacket protects an officer's spine, neck, and ribcage with airbags, as well as the shoulders and elbows with armor. The jacket is reuseable after deployment.
Insight Technology Thermal Battle Sight
One of the coolest products at this year's IACP was the Thermal Battle Sight. The Thermal Battle Sight is an infrared sight that offers facial-recognition-quality thermal images. It can detect man-size targets at more than 300 meters. The sight has a startup time of less than five sec-onds, maintains boresight to 0.5 mrad, weighs only 22 ounces, and runs for eight hours on four three-volt Lithium Batter-ies. It fits any MIL-STD 1913 rail.
L-3 Communications New Mobile-Vu
L-3 Communications' update of its Mobile-Vu mobile data computer was so new that the final version wasn't ready for the show. The new system runs on both Windows and Linux and combines all hardware into a small trunk unit, so the only pieces competing for real estate inside the patrol car are the small keyboard and portable monitor. The 12.1-inch display can easily be read in full sunlight and can be dimmed at night for covert use. Mobile-Vu's open architecture allows for easy upgrades for future technology.
Little Giant Tactical Ladder
It's not every day that a TV infomercial product migrates to the police and military market, but the Little Giant ladder may make that jump. The lightweight, telescoping ladder is the same as the consumer product sold on the infomercial, but with two key modifications: a shoulder strap for hands-free carrying and a black anodized finish for stealth. The ladder comes in four models with extension heights ranging from seven to 23 feet. Each model is rated for 300 pounds.
Panasonic Toughbook 30
Panasonic's new Toughbook 30 rugge-dized laptop is exactly what you think it is: an update of the venerable Toughbook 29. Like its predecessor, the latest Toughbook has a full magnesium alloy case to absorb shock and seals to protect the interior components from dust and moisture. It is ruggedized to MIL-STD 810F. The primary upgrade in the Toughbook 30 is the display. It's a very bright 1,000-NIT, touchscreen that's extremely readable even in sunlight. The processor has also been substantially amped with a muscular Intel Core Duo L2400. Memory capacity has been upgraded with an 80GB hard drive and 512MB of RAM expandable to 4GB.
The FlashLauncher is a combination duty flashlight and PepperBall launcher. Designed for corrections and patrol use, the FlashLauncher holds five rounds of PepperBall projectiles. It is powered by a standard CO2 cartridge and has an effective range of 30 feet. The launcher incorporates a laser aiming device and an 80-Lumen LED flashlight. It weighs 2.2 pounds.
Professional Arms MK5 Subgun
If you've been waiting for an American-made update of the MP5 subgun, Professional Arms may have just what you're looking for. The company's new MK5 is the spitting image of an MP5. It has an ambidextrous bolt hold open, an interchangeable caliber system that allows the user to easily modify the gun for 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP ammo, and hard attachment points for accessories. The MK5 can be set for semi-auto, two-round burst, and full-auto fire.
Protech Police Car Armor
A number of manufacturers have realized that officers need more ballistic protec-tion on the street than just a vest. Pro-tech's new Law Enforcement Vehicle Armor (L.E.V.A.) is an easy-to-install ballistic panel for the doors of Ford Crown Vic patrol cars. The L.E.V.A. 3+ system is made of ceramic composites and will stop common rifle rounds like those fired by AK-47s and AR-15s. The L.E.V.A. 3A system is made of aramid fiber and can stop handgun rounds. Weight is not much of an issue for the armor. Adding the 3A armor to front driver and passenger doors only puts 14 pounds on the car, 64 pounds for the ce-ramic 3+ armor. The armor panels are removable and can be transferred from car to car as needed.
RedMan Training Gear D2 Head Gear
RedMan Training Gear has revised the head gear for its training suits. The new D2 head gear offers greater peripheral vision, faster face cage attachment, improved hearing, and better impact protec-tion. The D2 head gear features RedMan's patented impact dispersing trauma plates. In addition to the D2 head gear, RedMan also introduced the D2 hood for better protection during weapon defense training.
Streamlight Stinger LED Flashlight
If you've been waiting for a long-running LED version of the venerable Stinger patrol flashlight, then Streamlight has a product for you. The new Stinger LED is powered by three Ni-Cad rechargeable batteries, and it can be recharged by the same recharger as your existing incandescent Stinger. Run times vary according to use, but Streamlight says you should get 1.75 hours of continuous light on the highest setting. The Stinger LED is about 8.5 inches long and a little more than 12 ounces. Light output is measured at 80 Lumens.
Taser International Taser Cam
Protection from liability is the idea behind Taser International's Taser Cam. The tiny video camera is integrated into the rechargeable power supply of the Taser X26 and replaces the standard power supply. Designed to capture both the before and after of a Taser firing, the Taser Cam activates as soon as the Taser's safety is in the off position. It records about 90 minutes of black-and-white video with audio, even in complete darkness. The MPEG4 files are captured at 10 frames per second and download to a computer via a USB connection. The Taser Cam not only protects officers from claims of brutality, it also pays for itself by replacing the standard non-rechargeable power supply with a rechargeable power supply.
Watch Guard DV-1 Digital Video
With Watch Guard's DV-1 Digital Video system for patrol cars, you don't have to transfer the video into a computer and process it for use. A ruggedized hard drive records up to eight hours of video while in the field, and the contents of the drive can be burned to a DVD, using the system's built in DVD recorder. The DV-1 offers 10 minute pre- and post-event recording, and the user can view prerecorded video while the DV-1 is recording. It includes two cameras, one for capturing events outside of the car and another for capturing video of the cabin. Audio is captured with a 2.4GHz digital mic that can be worn on the user's belt.