The Best of IACP Products
This year proliferated with innovative and consideration-worthy productsBy Crawford Coates | Oct 29, 2015
Trends in law enforcement technology have been pretty clear in recent years (data, video and combinations thereof). But there’s much more to it than that. IACP’s vendor hall is always a great place to see where we might be headed.
Beyond broad trends, there were several specific products and vendors that popped out of the aisles. The following are definitely worth checking out, whether or not you’re in the market currently. Here’s where we’re headed.
Impact Power Technologies
This one is simply amazing: A battery that replaces radio batteries (Motorola and Harris, specifically) and lasts approximately 48 hours on a single charge, weighing a fraction of the original and lasting several, according the few agencies using them, several traditional procurement cycles. Oh, and it costs the same as the equivalent OEM battery.
Bottom line: Law enforcement has literally lost officers because batteries failed when they were most needed. Not only will this product save you money and time, it might save lives.
Robert Vanman, the founder and CEO of WatchGuard, got into in-car video back in the 1990s with VHS recorders. He’s still at it. What separates WatchGuard from many in this crowded market is its intense investment in research and development. Couple that with its focus on the law enforcement end-user and you can understand its continued success.
WatchGuard’s bodycam, the Vista (shown), integrates seamlessly with the 4E in-car system. It’s wireless, provides pre-event recording, true high-def image quality, CD-quality audio, and easy docking and data transfer. It’s also as durable as they come.
Bottom line: WatchGuard has been a pillar of American law enforcement video from the get-go. With the Vista bodycam the tradition of exceptional engineering and service for law enforcement continues.
Yes, they make a great gun, and the Glock 22 and 23 models are flying off the shelves. But what’s most impressive coming out of IACP is their continued and substantial support of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS). Bottom line: Once again, they’ve written a big check ($80,000) to a great group.
Another law enforcement apparel company?!
Yep, and it’s worth checking out … because it’s truly different.
First, the products are among the best in the business–from gloves to socks to bags to duty gear. Every detail has been considered from the practitioners perspective. Second, through a unique distribution model First Tactical keeps the prices lower than than competition. The model is this: Buyers shop online and through a network of sales people (mostly retired law enforcement), thus cutting the middleman out of the equation.
Bottom line: First Tactical has created a team of some of the best in the business and combined them to make a product that’s a cut above at very compelling pricing.
What’s most impressive about Data911 is how thoroughly and holistically the company has considered its products and their applications. Rather than think of LPR, tablets, in-car computers, in-car video and bodycams as separate entities, each has instead been designed from the ground up to work within a system.
If this makes it sound like an expensive, all-inclusive purchase, that’s not the case. The idea is to engineer a solution in which any one piece can be replaced seamlessly, from the camera to the motherboard, for real cost savings.
At the same time each piece is built for police work. The in-car computer screens are, for example, truly rugged—they may well be strongest built—and made to last.
Bottom line: It’s not the biggest name out there in the world of cameras, computers and LPR, but these systems (all designed in Alameda, Calif.) deserve serious consideration as you navigate your department’s procurements.
These clearly aren’t for everybody, but with each year they expand their appeal and it’s getting to the point where just about every police agency should at least consider them.
Zero now boasts a nearly 200-mile range on a single charge, with a top speed of nearly 100 mph. And the acceleration is out of this world. With options for on- and off-road use, not only will your your agency save on gas and maintenance (no gears or clutch), but motor patrol has never been quieter—basically silent. Prices are competitive too.
Bottom line: If you thought that electronic motorcycles were impractical or uncompetitive, think again. Zero is closing the distance quickly.
Big caveat: The program isn’t here yet.
But the story boards and presentations at IACP held promise. Why? First and foremost, LexisNexis acquired Bair Analytics earlier this year and is folding that into the new release, and Bair had a great product. Second, it’s using Google Maps in a slick, user-friendly interface. Third, Lexis already had the best person-of-interest search capability in the business, which will be integral to the new system.
While it seems best suited for crime analysts, the “patrol” and “chief” views are, with the click of a button, immediately intelligible and actionable.
Bottom line: Keep an eye on it.
In such a crowded market, what sets Reveal Media’s bodycams apart is its history in this technology. Long before the U.S. bodycam market heated up, British law enforcement considered bodycams routine, even mundane. And Reveal is by far the biggest purveyor in that seasoned market (with significant inroads in Singapore and Hong Kong, as well).
But beyond that, the design of the new RS2-X2L is—as you would expect from a product that has been through several design iterations based on thorough user feedback—solid and innovative. For example, display screens face outward, so that interactions play out for the person being recorded, a real deterrent to bad behavior, according to British police. The articulating camera head allows officers to direct the camera to where the action is (not the same for someone 6’4” and another 5’4”). The charging and data storage are simple and elegantly designed, and the units ruggedly built.
Bottom line: It may be a new name to you. But when you consider its advanced experience and innovative features, Reveal Media is definitely worth a look.
University of Phoenix
There are a lot of options out there for police officers considering pursuing degrees and higher education. In fact, there are probably too many options. You’ve probably heard of the University of Phoenix, but the direction they are going in criminal justice is progressive and built upon solid law enforcement experience. Dean Mark Logan has more than 30 years in law enforcement and definite opinions about what it means to be a cop today. His emphasis on applied, practical learning and holistic community policing make it stand out from the pack.
Bottom line: There are many, many options for officer looking to get a leg up in this profession. University of Phoenix gets it.
Meggitt Training Systems
Admittedly, Meggitt is not a discount range and simulator company. But there’s reason for that: What they do is critically important and they do it well. From the FATS L7 simulator to the BlueWire wireless weapons simulators to rubber munition-collecting berms to wire-free live-fire ranges, each is at the top of its game and will require minimal investment to keep running effectively. Together they are better.
The endgame is to simulate reality. More realistic FATS scenarios, coupled with training cues and prompts, make scenario training come to life. Meggitt is also increasingly integrating cars and live DT training into the FATS and live-fire ranges.
Bottom line: The more realistic your training the better. Investing in a range and simulator should be done with the long term in mind.
Lexipol has long been a trusted source for law enforcement policy content, and its Daily Training Bulletins (DTBs) ensure that officers stay up to date on policies and apply policy to real-world situations. With the launch of its new mobile app, Lexipol provides a way for officers to access their agency’s policy manual and associated training content from mobile devices.
Users can read policies, receive notifications about new or amended policies and acknowledge receipt, and complete their DTBs. The app has an offline mode that allows users to view their manual even without an Internet connection. The app will also sync to the latest version of the manual when back online. (Free for Lexipol clients; search for Lexipol in the Google Play store or the App Store.)
Bottom line: Lexipol breaths life into policy. The introduction of a mobile app takes policy content from behind the desk and brings it to life in the field.