Every International Association of Chiefs of Police show kind of has its own vibe. Last year's show in Denver was all about vehicles, as Chevy really amped the excitement level with the announcement of its new Caprice patrol car. This year's show was held in Orlando from Oct. 24 to 26, and it was much more subdued but there was still plenty of cool stuff on the show floor.
Some of the most interesting things on display at this year's show were actually new revisions of existing products. We saw a lot of software packages that had been tweaked to add new features and other products that had been refined in some substantial way. One product that was very exciting for many attendees was the new and improved 2011 Dodge Charger Pursuit. However, since this vehicle is thoroughly covered in our feature on the Michigan State Police testing, we chose not to include it in our IACP coverage.
Here's a quick look at some of the things that caught our eyes.
At this year's show, 5.11 introduced the Signature Duty Jacket and the Reversible Hi-Vis Duty Jacket. Both jackets offer all the storage features that you would expect in a 5.11 garment. The Signature Duty Jacket is bloodborne pathogen resistant, has a removable quilted liner, and a pull-out rear ID panel. The Reversible Hi-Vis Duty Jacket is made of breathable waterproof material, reverses from black to a Hi-Vis yellow that meets ANSI Level II, and is accented with 3M Scotchlite high-visibility reflective tape.
Activu's IP-based command and control visualization and collaboration technology has been used in law enforcement for years. But at this year's IACP, the company unveiled a really cool application for its technology. Activu Mobility allows command center and other mission critical visuals to be sent directly to the smartphone or PDA of an officer in the field. Field operators can also use their smartphones or other mobile devices to capture images and video and send them back to the command center.
Blauer: Tactical Trousers with Stretch
Blauer's new 8823 Tactical Trousers with Stretch are a part of the company's StreetGear line. Available in tan, black, and blue, these machine washable pants are comfortable and practical. Bamboo fiber next to the skin provides softness and moisture wicking, while nylon and a B.XDRY liquid repellant finish on the outside make the pants durable. Stretch comes in the form of eight percent Spandex in the fabric for a comfortable fit. Being tac pants, Blauer's Tactical Trousers with Stretch feature pockets on the hip and thigh, reinforced knees, and a D-ring on the waistband. Another nice feature is a nylon zipper for easy on/off.
Brooking Industries: Electric Vehicles
In addition to LED lightbars, switch boxes, and prisoner transport products, Sunrise, Fla.-based Brooking Industries now also supplies law enforcement agencies with a wide range of electric vehicles that seat from two to six people and go up to 25 mph. Useful for parking enforcement and policing events, these vehicles from Current Electric Vehicles range in price from $7,500 to $12,000. And because they run for 30 to 40 miles per charge, they cost around $10 per month to operate, far less than gas-powered cars.
Combat Medical Systems: Litter Arms
Ambulances often can't or won't enter a hot situation where officers or other people are hurt and need medical attention. With AllEvac Universal Vehicle Litter Arms, you can safely mount litters to the inside walls of an armored response vehicle to evacuate injured people from the scene. Universal mount plates allow the arms to be left in place and folded away or removed and stowed until needed. The arms snap into place on the mounts in a single movement, allowing any vehicle to become evacuation capable in a matter of seconds. The mount plates can also be used to mount weapons and other equipment for SWAT use.
A few months back, Digital Ally released its new speed enforcement system Laser Ally. IACP attendees could stop by the company's booth and get some hands-on experience with the device. They could also see Digital Ally's coming attraction: the Thermal Ally. Digital Ally has entered the handheld thermal imager market with a compact, feature-loaded device that's really cost-competitive. The Thermal Ally has a focus-free lens for fast target acquisition and multiple color palettes for accurate identification of targets and evidence. Operators can record images and output the video. The system runs on rechargeable batteries or external power.[PAGEBREAK]
Sometimes the best thing at any trade show is a widget, some little something that makes everyone at the show go, "Wow! That's a great idea." At this IACP the coolest widget was the DisposaCone, a paper traffic cone. The laminated cardboard cones are bright orange with reflective strips and have adhesive bases that allow them to be fixed to almost any surface. They cost $7.99 for three and fold completely flat to save trunk space.
Available in early 2011, Draeger's hybrid mask allows you to switch between negative pressure and positive pressure and use a combination of PAPR and SCBA functionality with the same mask. What really sets this system apart is a flippable switch on the front of the mask that makes changing between positive and negative airflow fast and easy. And because there's so little power draw during operation, the system will provide airflow for 30 to 60 minutes on standard batteries.
If you like Elbeco's Ladies' Choice pants, you can now have a matching set by adding the company's new Ladies' Choice shirts to your closet. All of Elbeco's women's shirts are now completely redesigned based on female officers' input to better fit a woman's body. You can choose from traditional uniform shirts in all fabric lines as well as tactical polo shirts.
Federal Signal: DTX In-Car Video
Known for its lightbars and license plate readers, Federal Signal is branching out. The company showed its new DTX In-Car Video system at the show. Cool features include 60 minutes of pre-event recording, automatic uploading of video files once the vehicle comes within wireless range of the station, and a powerful wireless microphone. It also includes live video streaming when used with a 3G network. The two-camera set-up includes a camera pointed at the back seat to monitor suspects.
On the trade show floor you shake a lot of hands, so a pumpful of ExtendaClyns hand sanitizer at the MyClyns booth was certainly welcome. It's a non-alcohol foam hand sanitizer and first-aid antiseptic designed to kill 99.9 percent of germs that can cause infection and disease. That means you can easily use it to clean up scrapes in the field. The product works in as little as 15 seconds and is supposed to remain effective for hours after application. Because it contains moisturizers and no alcohol, ExtendaClyns didn't dry out my hands like other hand sanitizers can. And it costs less than $4 per bottle.
Mustang Survival: Rescue Stick
Considering most law enforcement officers work near some form of water, it's a good idea to have a device on hand to rescue people from drowning. Mustang Survival's Rescue Stick is designed to allow officers to save people without endangering themselves. The "stick" can be accurately thrown to the victim more than 100 feet away and automatically inflates when it touches water to act as a flotation device. When used with the company's Throw Bag, the officer can easily retrieve the victim by pulling the heavy-duty rope attached to the Rescue Stick. Mustang Survival has several kits that include multiple Rescue Sticks, Throw Bags, and personal flotation devices for officers. [PAGEBREAK]
Panasonic's latest ToughBook U1 Ultra handheld computer runs Windows 7. The device meets MIL-STD 810G for ruggedized computers and offers an extremely bright 6,000 NIT display for easy daytime reading. Available options include integrated GPS, a 2 megapixel camera, and barcode readers. With an Intel Atom processor Z530 CPU that clocks 1.60GHz, the ToughBook U1 Ultra handheld has plenty of power to run law enforcement applications.
PanoScan: Vehicle Inspection Robot
Manufacturer and developer of panoramic imaging systems PanoScan surprised IACP attendees with its newest product, a robot. PanoScan's Ferret vehicle inspection robot is saucer shaped and looks an awful lot like a Roomba vacuuming system, but it won't clean your floors. What the Ferret can do is drive under vehicles and use its panoramic camera to show an operator the under side of vehicles that may be rigged with bombs or for concealing contraband. The radio controlled Ferret has a range of up to 1,000 feet and a runtime of 40 minutes.
Laptop Lineup is a new investigative application from Thinkstream. The software picks out suitable matches from a database of more than 1,000 photos. It takes investigators just a few minutes to upload the suspect's photo and enter demographic and personal characteristics. Once the photo is uploaded and the information is input, Laptop Lineup automatically selects suitable matches for a six- or eight-person lineup.
Trimble: Nomad Handheld Computer
Trimble showed its latest Nomad outdoor rugged handheld computers. The Nomad now offers a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with flash, enhanced GPS performance, and enhanced Wi-Fi capabilities. Powered by an ultra-fast 806MHz processor and Trimble's optimized graphics processing, advanced caching ,and proprietary high-speed journaling file system, the Trimble Nomad handhelds are extremely fast. The Trimble Nomad meets MIL-STD-810F standard for drops, vibration, and temperature extremes and comes with an IP67 rating.
TriTech Forensics: Swiftlift Mitt
Applying fingerprint powder with a brush takes a long time on large areas. Much like a chamois mitt used to wash a car, the SwiftLift from TriTech Forensics makes easy work of vehicles, counters, floors, or any other expansive surface that needs to be dusted for latent prints. Just put the mitt on your hand, apply powder to it, and rub the mitt against itself to evenly distribute the powder. Then rub the mitt over a surface and watch the prints appear. SwiftLift mitts are big, but they're designed not to damage ridge detail. And they're disposable so trace evidence won't be transferred between crime scenes.
Vigilant Video showed its CarDetector Mobile LPR system. The CarDetector features the company's Condor digital signal processor (DSP), which is ruggedized for severe traffic conditions. A single Condor DSP can process up to four cameras on a single vehicle. Vigilant Video's LPR camera is exclusively designed for LPR with a dual lens combo housing for IR and color cameras. The CarDetector Mobile LPR system package is one of the most compact systems on the market.
WatchGuard Video: 4RE HD In-Car Video
The problem with HD resolution for in-car video systems has always been file size. You need a lot of storage for HD files. But WatchGuard Video has solved that problem with its new 4RE wireless in-car video system. The 4RE records in standard definition and high definition simultaneously. This allows you to store critical files in HD and less critical files in standard def. In addition, WatchGuard's compression technology reduces the size of any file captured by the 4RE. Other features of the 4RE include WatchGuard's patent-pending Record-After-The-Fact technology, wide screen aspect ratio, and dual drive architecture.
Las Vegas-based Xtreme Green makes a wide variety of electric law enforcement vehicles, including motorcycles and ATVs. The company's latest product is the Police Utility Terrain Vehicle, a four wheeler that's substantially larger and more powerful than many electric police transports. The four-wheel-drive UTV has a top speed of 25 mph and a range of about 75 miles.
Zarc has long been one of the leading manufacturers of law enforcement OC products, so it's no great leap for the company to manufacture an OC launcher. Zarc's Vexor VM1 Launcher is essentially a paintball gun, but it has some really nice features. Designed to fire Zarc's Vexor .68 caliber rounds, the VM1 is a hopper fed launcher with a tac rail and optional optics. It's target accurate to 60 feet and can be used for area denial out to 100 feet. Projectile options include liquid OC, impact, and training rounds.