Un-junking agency trunks

Participants in the Law Enforcement Technology "Junk in Your Trunk" program tell how organizers have un-junked their trunks

     Product: Extendo Bed assemblies

     Recipient Departments: Lacey (Washington) Police Department and Napoleon (North Dakota) Police Department

     Extendo Bed's experience in the "Junk in Your Trunk" program involved the Napoleon (North Dakota) and the Lacey (Washington) Police Departments. Extendo Bed Co. Inc. of Caldwell, Idaho, stepped forward to remedy each department's own unique custom organizational problems.

     Extendo Bed recognized each department and officer may have different requirements for organization. "What we do is go in and find out what the needs are," says Kim Cherry, Extendo Bed president. "We work with each individual, operator, driver or officer to form a solution that suits their specific needs."

     Disorganization became so out of hand that Lacey PD K-9 Officer Christopher Wenschhof had resorted to placing plastic bins on top of other plastic bins and putting a pile of important equipment on top. This obviously was not working to full efficiency, so he wrote to the "Junk in Your Trunk" program.

     "Man's best friend brings with him an excessive amount of canine clutter, from poop scoopers to a canine ballistic vest," says Wenschhof. "No matter how I rearranged things, there was always something I urgently needed in the very back. I had to pull everything in front out and onto the ground." To make matters worse, Wenschhof's troubles did not heel. Due to the weather conditions of the Pacific Northwest, he explains his equipment often resembled a soggy yard sale. "Before, every time I had to get some equipment, I dreaded going into the back of my vehicle," he says.

     The Napoleon PD was unavailable for comment, but their situation originated from a small budget with a small city. "Being only myself and one other part-time officer, we only have one vehicle, a 2001 Chevrolet Blazer, for a population of 850," writes (Ret.) Chief Darryl Bulzomi of the Napoleon PD. Like the Lacey PD, this department also relied on plastic bins, which officers unloaded onto the street to access gear or equipment buried underneath.

     Bulzomi's and Wenschhof's organizational pleas eventually made their way to Extendo Bed. "We go in and custom design almost each unit for the needs of the customer," says Cherry. "What works for one officer in one application may not work for someone else."

     Wenschhof's 2007 Chevrolet Police Tahoe organizer included a two-level unit with additional drawers. "Installation was amazingly easy," says Wenschhof. "The only problem arose from my own mechanical inexperience." Napoleon's unit, as described by Cherry, has a two-drawer command workstation and equipment access system. "These two models are of the most popular units for police departments that we have," he says.

     Product: Patrolman TrunkVault and Tac Center

     Recipient Departments: Madison County (Montana) Sheriff's Office and City of Bakersfield (California) Police Department.

     "If there's a need for me to respond, it's imperative and necessary for me to have all the equipment at hand," says Billy Owens, code enforcement officer with the City of Bakersfield (California) Police Department.

     Owens must carry large amounts of equipment in his Ford Taurus when he's on the road. Supplies such as tool bags, first aid kits, cones, cameras and flares are just a few of the important items he needs, along with the required equipment to perform his duties as a reserve officer. Duty gear, paperwork, forms and personal protective equipment also fill his trunk to the brim.

     Owens' Ford Taurus is known for its limited trunk space, but he says that "with the proper organizer, the car can be more functional."

     Representatives from Sedro-Woolley, Washington-based TruckVault Inc. agree.

     "One of the nice things about our product is that each one really is made-to-order, so we're able to offer products for just about any vehicle on the road," says Matt Swanson, marketing director of TruckVault.

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