IACP exhibit hall showcases essential tools for patrol
From boots to barriers, here's what stood out for patrol and emergency response situations
Law enforcement has been in a state of recovery, regrouping and rebuilding over the past few years. While the struggles continue, it is critical to keep looking forward. Constructivism and innovation are paramount in this focus. As our world adapts, so must we.
I was fortunate to be able to attend the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in San Diego. As critical as analyzing ever-changing public safety dynamics is evaluating emerging technologies. New products, tools, programs and equipment are integral to the evolution of effective operations and criminal justice functions.
As I explored the vast exhibit hall at the San Diego Convention Center, building up my step count, several vendors popped out to me across a multitude of areas that are directly related to patrol and emergency response situations.
Any first responder recognizes how seconds save lives. If we consider traditional 911 reporting, we can track how details get provided to a call receiver, then get relayed by a dispatcher, then sent to a responding patrol officer. Often, what is relayed from start to finish isn’t accurate in this emergent game of “Telephone” due to caller stress/perception, exigent data entry, shorthand and human error.
These details make a huge difference. I recall being a new patrol officer and responding to a residential burglary where the suspect had fled on foot. I was hyper-fixated on the descriptors of race and clothing and ended up staring directly at the suspect within a quarter mile. We exchanged glances, and I felt this guttural instinct that it was him. I stayed quiet with my FTO in the car and later, ended up helping arrest and confirming it was that very subject.
In another example, I’ve responded to calls of what sounded like a brutal assault to find it was simply an elevated verbal dispute. Details matter in call response, and it quickly affects not only an officer’s perception coming into a situation, but tactical assessment of resources, which has large downstream effects.
With the increase in available technology literally in the palm of everyone’s hands, Prepared911 can text a 911 caller a link to provide real-time cell phone video or photos to team members at a call center or officers as well. Callers can also directly share a location. Thus, you can get a clear view of what is truly developing, from someone’s description to a more accurate depiction of what is happening right then and there.
For more information, visit prepared911.com.
I spent the majority of my police career as an officer or team leader in my region’s Civil Disturbance Unit. From assisting with an escort of a parade to being deployed on the line of a volatile demonstration, I found numerous occasions where not only did I feel high vulnerability to myself and my team, but also to the protestors or bystanders in these highly accessible, public settings.
Outside of protest environments, every responsible public safety professional pays attention to the frequency of extremist actor attacks on soft targets. This spans from simple community gatherings to religious observances, to sports and entertainment venues.
In my role as a team leader, I had previously assessed different crowd-protection barricades and barrier products. Road closure signs have good traffic closure functionality, but essentially no stopping power when facing nearly any motor vehicle. Concrete blocks and Eco blocks (plastic filled with water) can be more of a deterrent, but with a heavy and/or high-velocity enclosed vehicle, their abilities to protect pedestrians or a crowd will be limited as well.
I have seen clever operational plans in action where large city vehicles like dump trucks and construction (loaders, dozers) have been used to close most of a roadway. This is fantastic thinking with what you have on hand.
Pitagone has different barrier options. Some are heavier/bulkier, which will require a forklift or machinery, but what was most appealing to me was an option where a single person can release a locking mechanism and roll/pivot 3 connecting units at a time, similar to a hand truck.
A combination of equipment like this along with budget-friendly hacks like public works vehicles could allow for a hybrid of resources. With options to rent or purchase, coupled with grant opportunities, it is worth consideration.
For more information, visit pitagone.com.
Every line-level officer and first responder needs highly effective footwear to do the “boots on the ground” work. Danner, manufactured in the US (Oregon), showcased several products. Resurgent, a new line, provides extreme flexibility with wicking and breathability, designed with hot climates in mind. I am a fan of a more robust boot-upper and was introduced to the Instinct. This model provides features I am seeing more, such as a lower heel drop (for more functional walking/gait) with a light sole and overall construction. It also features a convenient side zip, which can be locked into place in its upmost position, to prevent inadvertent loss of secure fit.
I’m intrigued to give Danner a look, as one of my first patrol boots ever, the Acadias, is still going strong after over 15 years (perfect for court testimony and dress uniform!).
For more information, visit danner.com.
I don’t have a tactical team background, but I have worked alongside SWAT in my K9 generalist years. I, as many police officers and supervisors, have certainly heard plenty of stories from my colleagues in the region. Through the years, I’ve heard of different types of common vehicles getting stuck in different environments and conditions: in the mud, high centered, or in a house foundation after breaching an exterior wall.
I’ve also found myself on a host of patrol incidents that developed into a SWAT/SRT call-out. As any patrol officer knows, until the SWAT team gets there, you’re the SWAT team. Maneuvering the tactical vehicles can be complicated, in efforts to maximize cover and deploy-ability. Often it is a patrol officer who is getting the armored vehicle onto the scene until the team can fully assemble.
Walking the exhibit hall and seeing a matte-black, compact, armored bulldozer certainly attracted my attention. The vehicle itself is not very big but has different attachment platforms that can fit several officers in front or behind. One such platform has walls/doors and ports that can be adjusted and manipulated to provide cover and deploy weapons as necessary.
The Rook is built upon a CAT Compact Track Loader chassis. Additionally, the main vehicle itself has a breaching ram that can dispense OC out of the front end upon making entry into a structure or environment. The system provides an adaptive response with a host of attachments and different tools. This offers an intriguingly nimble vehicle (literal and figurative) to the classic “never textbook” evolving critical situation that can happen anywhere, any day.
For more information, visit therook.ringpower.com.