The motto of the Law Enforcement Tactical Response Show & Conference (TREXPO) is, "Well armed, well prepared, and well informed." This year's TREXPO West, held March 11-14 in Long Beach, Calif., lived up to that billing, offering attendees the opportunity to participate in provocative and educational seminars, to learn about the latest tactical products and weapons, and even a chance to shoot some of the newest firearms.
A wide variety of new tools, gear, and weapons were displayed and often demonstrated on the show floor. Products that attracted attention from the hundreds of SWAT officers who walked the show aisles ranged from wireless video cameras, to boots, to armored cars.
Cadillac of Armored Cars
Last August at TREXPO East, Textron Systems announced the development of the PeaceKeeper II armored security vehicle and showed a model of the new vehicle. Textron reps also promised that they would have a prototype of the four-wheel-drive, 70-mph armored car on the floor at TREXPO West. They delivered on that promise. The Cadillac Gage PeaceKeeper II was a big hit at TREXPO West. Attendees crawled all over the armored car, which accommodates an eight-person team with all its gear, can mount a variety of heavy weapons, features sloped armor that can stop 7.62mm armor-piercing rounds, and can mount a variety of heavy weapons, including SAWs, M240s, and grenade machine guns.
WMD Gear to Go
You're probably getting sick of hearing about weapons of mass destruction gear. And if you're like most cops, you're probably terribly confused on the subject. That's why a new product from law enforcement product distributor Adamson Industries made a big splash on the show floor. Adamson's WMD Response Kit cuts through the confusion and provides first responders with everything they will need to work in the "warm zone" of a chemical terrorism incident. The kit includes an MSA Millennium Gas Mask, a Tyvek-Pro First Responder Chemical Overgarment (level C), latex inner glove liners, butyl rubber gloves, chemical over boots, and a roll of Kappler Chem-Tape. All of this is packed into a modular, heavy-duty carrier bag (with detachable mask carrier) that can be slung over your shoulder, attached to your belt or a load-bearing tactical vest, or simply tucked into a duty bag. The kit lists for $389.
Portable tactical video systems were very popular at this year's TREXPO West, and one of the most unusual was the Camlite Video System from Camlite Corp. The Camlite is a fully functional 15,000- candlepower handheld flashlight that's also a video camera. Using an included wireless transmitter, the Camlite system can send a video signal to a recording or display device at a maximum range of 900 feet (line of sight). Camlite Corp. touts the system as an ideal complement to a facial recognition software solution.
Innovative Video Systems
A flashlight video camera is just about the only model that's not offered by Tactical Electronics. Long a supplier of tactical video equipment for the U.S. military, Tactical Electronics has now entered the law enforcement market with a line of wireless cameras that includes articulating fiber scopes for bomb tech applications, pole cameras for under-vehicle searches and tactical applications, and under-door cameras for inspecting rooms before entering them. Tactical electronics also offers wrist monitors, head-mounted monitors, and wireless monitors.[PAGEBREAK]
Another new wrinkle in the world of tactical video is the thermal camera.
Several companies offer these cameras, including Zistos Industrial-Video. The Zistos Thermal Imaging Camera fits on the Zistos WalkAbout pole camera system and can be used to observe people in smoke, total darkness, and other low- visibility conditions. Like all other Zistos video cameras for the WalkAbout system, the Thermal Imaging Camera fits on poles as long as 19 feet, and on wands, batons, and trolleys. Images from the Thermal Imaging Camera can be viewed on tethered monitors, or, when paired with wireless transmitters, on remote monitors.
Also in the thermal imaging sector, DTC Communications introduced a handheld infrared camera, the ThermoVision Scout. The flashlight-shaped Scout features a built-in 2.5-inch color LCD monitor, and it can capture 50 JPEG thermal images and store them in its onboard memory. DTC says the 1.5-pound Scout is one of the lightest infrared imaging and storage cameras in the world, and it can be attached to a police belt. The Scout can pick up images as far away as 1,200 feet, depending on conditions.
See Through Walls
For some time now, Huntsville, Ala.-based Time Domain Corp. has been developing through-the-wall radar. The company's new RadarVision is a lightweight (10-pound) unit that detects movement on the other side of walls and can be used to pinpoint suspects before making an entry or to locate hidden suspects. Using RadarVision, trained officers can track the bad guys at a range of up to 30 feet through fiberglass, wood, gypsum, brick, and even concrete walls. The system is powered by rechargeable batteries and can operate for more than one hour per charge.
One of the problems with ballistic shields is that they can be difficult to store, transport, and carry. Patriot 3 is now marketing a line of folding NIJ Level IIIA ballistic shields. The Minuteman line of shields features a ballistic viewport, folds into a briefcase-size carry bag, and can be erected in approximately 20 seconds. Shields are available in camouflage, yellow, and tactical black.
Boots on the Ground
Magnum Boots is now selling its new line of Elite footwear. The Elite line was designed to meet the specs of worldwide elite military and law enforcement units. However, that doesn't mean that the designers have sacrificed wearer comfort for durability or protection. Elite boots are both tough and comfortable. Features include puncture-resistant soles, polyurethane midsoles, composite shanks that won't trigger metal detectors, waterproof construction, and antimicrobial, antibacterial, washable insoles. The Elite series is available in 3-inch, 6-inch, and 8-inch models.