A lot of thought has obviously gone into building the matrix for the event, and every minute of each day is fully utilized. Even the lunch hour had activity--each day brought demonstrations with TASERs, burning bars, pepper ball launchers, and various technology products. The organizers were prudent to the point of guaranteeing a captive audience by having vendors come into the exercise yard and providing a tasty array of lunch selections. This was very much appreciated by exhibitors and participants alike, since no one had to mount up and search for nearby restaurants.
I saw an interesting product at the show called the Recon Scout(tm), produced by Recon Robotics, located in Minneapolis, MN. I spoke with David Gustafson, Director of Commercial Sales about this remote controlled contraption. At first glance it resembles a barbell. It is lightweight, only 2.5 pounds, which allows it to be easily thrown or launched from hundreds of feet away. The unit has a remote, hand held controller that allows the operator to direct it to any part of a room or area. Gustafson said that it was built according to Marine Corps specs, the expectation being that a Marine in the field could operate the unit with one hand, allowing him to continue to fire his weapon with the other if necessary. It affords a pretty clear picture, and is fairly simple to operate, requiring no specialized training. Since it is so light and small, it can be carried on a belt or tactical vest. I like this capability--to be able to check out a room robotically, before making an entry. Look for this product to pick up steam in the future.
I also sat in on an interesting workshop entitled, "The Five Minute Fighter®." Taught by Jeff Quail, the ShocKnife inventor, the course brings some revolutionary ideas to the fore with respect to defensive tactics and the whole mindset that deals pragmatically with what happens when officers go hand-to-hand with the bad guys. This workshop is designed to educate participants on how to develop a realistic defensive tactics program, with the understanding that they will only have a short period of time to train others in physical skill sets.
My overall assessment of the 2007 Mock Prison Riots is that the event is a "must see" for anyone with any type of relationship dealing with corrections. May 11-14, 2008 is the date to set aside for next year's gathering. This event is like a snowball rolling downhill--it is getting bigger each year. My advice to you, my friend, is don't miss it!