This is our fifth year convening to celebrate the original, innovative, smart products that the companies serving this industry produce to make law enforcers’ —Law Enforcement Technology readers— duties easier, and officers' time on the streets better managed and safer. They innovate. We celebrate.
This fifth year of the awards takes place during a much different time. The landscape has changed a bit in recent years. I wrote this summer that in today’s market, we need to consider the Twinkie (August 2010 "Consider Twinkies & mayo"). What was once a manufacturing solution is today a cream-filled symbol of American culture. And after the judges finished reviewing this year’s entries for the 2010 Cygnus Law Enforcement Group’s Innovation Awards, they observed that manufacturers have considered the Twinkie.
From the lingering law enforcement challenges the products introduced answered, to the cost effective products the judges thought cleverly useful, the submissions ran the gamut.
Now Law Enforcement Technology would like to share those results.
BODY ARMOR & SAFETY
Team Wendy, EPIC Helmet Liner System
The judges remarked: "We're starting to see more theater injuries. If you think about the NIJ .06 standards that came out, ballistic protection is expensive, and this is a cost-effective solution.
Also, being able to remove it and customize comfort is something we haven't seen before like this."
The EPIC System takes protection to the next level, allowing every individual to create their own custom fit helmet. The system features a fixed protection layer and movable comfort pads
Pryme Radio Products, GPS-4100P GPS Speaker Microphone
One judge said: "My department will never be able to afford real-time GPS tracking—at least not in this decade. This makes a similar technology available to smaller agencies."
Simply, if an officer is down, the GPSMIC alarm button could save his or her life. Because there's no monthly fee for real-time GPS tracking, this critical benefit comes at a minimal cost.
"What it comes down to is cost—I'm always looking for more effective ways with the GPS stuff."
"If it's built right into the antennae of the GPS—I'm liking that. It's not just more effective, but also more cost effective."
"The speaker mic is a legiticmate officer safety solution. You're playing chess with the bad guys, and [with the speaker mic] you know right where all your people are."
Thermo Scientific, FirstDefender RMX
FirstDefender RMX lightweight, handheld instrument that is easy to use and interpret and can be taken directly into the hazard zone for chemical and explosives identification. With the tactical robot capability, first responders can diffuse dangerous situations with a greater level of responder and community safety.
The capabilities of the FirstDefender instrument, such as its expansive library of detectable substances, and its portability were reasons the judges praised the unit. Since it is easy to use and to read, it would be an effective tool on hand for multiple duties. "You can use it for narc, USPS to scan suspicious packages, in suspected meth locations—it does the many jobs we'd need it to do [making it] the most effective," said one judge.
CORRECTIONS & SECURITY
Berkeley Varitronics Systems, Wolfhound-Lite Cell Phone Detector
The cell signature detector made an impression on judges because it simplifies cell phone policy enforcement. One judge remarked that none of the other equipment officers carried performed the detection function, and it allows officers especially corrections officials to enforce cell phone restriction without violating other laws (such as cell phone signal jamming).
FIREARMS & WEAPONS
Just Right Carbine LLC, Just Right Carbine
"How many rifles are there that can use pistol magazines? That's pretty innovative," one judge said. The judges also observed the neat design in addition to versatility of exchanging magazines as notable.