The inspiration for the development of the Automatic Injury Detection (AID) system came from its co-inventor’s experience in a gunfight.
Ken Brinkley and his partner were taking fire, and Brinkley believed he was calling in the situation report clearly and calmly, as he had been trained. But he kept getting asked by the dispatcher to repeat the information. “The radio was squawking, giving away my location, as I tried to flank the guy,” Brinkley says.
When the fight was over, an angry Brinkley went to see the dispatcher and asked why all the repeat messages. His response was to play the recording. Brinkley was shocked to discover that his clear and calm communications were anything but clear and calm. “I was talking a mile a minute and could not be understood,” he says. It was then he realized that officers who have been injured in the field need a tool that automatically alerts dispatch to their situation.
Today, Brinkley is co-founder and senior vice president of Select Engineering Services, makers of the AID system. The AID system consists of a Bluetooth transmitter and a thin panel of film material coated with conductive ink. It is covertly worn in front of the armor panels (front and back) in the officer’s ballistic vest carrier, and when the AID panel is pierced by a bullet, a blade, or anything else, it automatically sends alerts to backup officers, dispatch, and anyone else the officer wants to respond if he or she is injured.
The Bluetooth transmitter on the AID system uses the officer’s smartphone or Bluetooth-enabled radio to send the alert, which includes the officer’s name, blood type, other pre-programmable information such as allergies, and a Google Maps link that shows the exact location and provides driving directions, if needed. “It (the AID system) is designed to help the officer who is incapacitated and can’t call for help. The secret sauce is that it takes the manual communication out of the loop and no one has to repeat any information,” Brinkley says.
Brinkley says one of the goals in the development of the AID system was to make it as simple to use as possible. There is no on/off switch on the transmitter. After initial setup, the Bluetooth device on the AID panel goes into standby mode any time it is within range of the officer’s phone running the AID app. All the officer has to do is have the app running in the background on their phone. When penetrated the AID panel automatically becomes active, transmitting the alert and tracking information.
Battery life is also not an issue with the AID. Once charged through the micro USB port, the system has a runtime of one year. If the charge starts to weaken, the transmitter sends an alert to the officer that it is time to recharge. To make sure the officer does not ignore the alert, notification can also be sent to a supervisor or other select individuals.
Beyond just notifying backup that an officer has been injured, the AID system has a number of other officer safety benefits.
When used with an Android cell phone AID can automatically turn on the phone’s microphone and make a call to a voice line. The recipient can listen in and record the events taking place at the scene. This can provide critical intelligence as to what is happening in real time, which can be very useful for tailoring the response and obtaining evidence.
In a situation like an active shooter targeting multiple officers, the AID system can instantly alert officers on scene that multiple officers have been hit and to respond accordingly. Also, because it accelerates officer response, the AID system can help capture suspects before they escape, preventing a costly manhunt.
When purchased buyers receive front and back sensor panels and the AID app. There is a one-time cost with no additional maintenance or subscription fees. Volume discounts are available. Brinkley says entire agencies and individual officers have purchased the system. .