Products of the year

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

COMMUNICATIONS

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."

COMPUTERS

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.

FIREARMS & WEAPONS ACCESSORIES

5.11 Tactical Series, ThumbDrive Holster

The judges called the ThumbDrive Holster "slick." One judge mentioned the agency had three guys shoot themselves in the thigh from the holster, which made the thumb-activated safety that secures the weapon in the holster an essential benefit. Ease of use, cost effective and the quality of the 5.11 product were pointed out by the judges.

FORENSICS

SanDisk, SD WORM (Write Once Read Many)

The tamperproof memory card was called "functional simplicity" by the judging panel. The judges added that the memory card provides a "very simple, very good idea" for court-admissible evidence.

SOFTWARE

VeriPic, Digital Photolab Version 5.2

The judges felt this product could represent a move toward changes in individual agencies' digital evidence system. Judges say its "independent" and "unalterable" characteristics are vital for this area of the profession.

SUREVEILLANCE

BriefCam, BriefCam VS Forensics

The judges remarked that this product is "amazing."

"There's nothing worse than watching hours of CCTV tapes," one judge stated. "Just capturing that much footage and being able to pick out the info you want," is an innovative feature. Compared to the cost that two tape reviewers for just an hour, the software was also considered cost effective by the panel.

TACTICAL

Dolmen, The TRAC

One judge commented, "It's a Bobcat for cops!" while another added, "Right—a ballistic Bobcat." The judges said this company had an interesting vision with this product, and the TRAC's ability to deliver personnel safely and the ability to train on this vehicle instead of subcontracting or another solution "kind of blew my doors off."

TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT

DataFetch USA, Scan & See License Scanner

The scanner saves the patrolman a walk back to the car to know if the license is good. "The fact you can do it from the [subject's] car speeds up the decision train," one judge said, which ultimately improves officer safety on traffic stops as well as efficiency.

TRAINING

IES, Immersive 3D Training Scenarios

The experienced judge panel say the IES scenarios are an improvement on older similar systems. A judges said "the fact that you can see the accuracy of the shots" is another key benefit for this types of immersive 3D training scenarios."

UNIFORMS & APPAREL

5.11 Tactical, Patrol Duty Uniform (PDU)

The combination of cost-effectiveness and maintainability of the PDU were the big perks of this innovative uniform. The safety the uniform provides by keeping an officer's mind on the situation at hand and its multitude of cargo and customizable characteristics for equipment and individual sizes enhance uniform performance.

VEHICLES & VEHICLE ACCESSORIES

Gamber-Johnson, Energizer eCoupled Flashlight Charging Mount

The wireless energy transfer technology is another tribute to the judges' appreciation for simple tech solutions that applies across the law enforcement disciplines, making this accessory significant to the panel.

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