Products For The Investigator's Taste

More than just firearms and sports equipment, SHOT Show 2006 offered a smorgasbord of items for the technical investigator

The Power Flare PF200 Safety Light, distributed by San Jose, California-based PF Distribution Center Inc., is one of the latest of these electronic flares. The PF200 is roughly the size of a hockey puck, making it a very convenient and easily handled item. It is available powered by either CR123 lithium batteries or with rechargeable batteries. The lithium model floats, the rechargeable will sink, and both are waterproof to 80 feet. Being waterproof, they may be decontaminated if exposed to hazardous materials at a scene. The units are intrinsically safe, allowing their use in flammable and explosive atmospheres.

And, they are strong; in testing they have been driven over by a 24-ton armored personnel carrier, and placed on top of a 2-pound charge of C-4 plastic explosive. In both tests, the Power Flare survived, suffered no damage other than aesthetic, surface damage, and continued to function.

The PF200 is available with orange, yellow or olive-drab exterior cases, and red, amber, white, blue, green or infrared LEDs.

It is programmed to provide any of nine patterns, including a solid. Depending on the pattern selected and the power source, it may function up to 100 hours before recharging or battery replacement.

When the burn time, long life, and multiple utility of the Power Flare are considered, it soon becomes more cost effective than fusees. And the utility it offers goes beyond marking a path or LZ, it can mark evidence, be worn for safety, used for multiple purposes by scuba teams, and much more, dictated by the user's imagination.

The view
Whether known as borescopes, endoscopes or fiber optic probes, viewing instruments have become valued tools to the law enforcement community. Tactical teams use them to gain intelligence on the placement of person and room layout before making entry. Bomb technicians use them to view contents of suspicious packages. Crime scene investigators use them to non-destructively inspect walls or other areas to determine the presence of evidence. Firearms instructors, armorers and examiners use them to inspect firearms for safety, maintenance and evidence.

Tactical Electronics produces the Hand Held Inspection Tool, or H.H.I.T., as a highly portable video scope. The H.H.I.T. mounts an extreme low-light video on the end of a 6-inch flexible stalk, plus two variable intensity LED lights, which are available in white, blue or green. The camera head measures 0.687 inches, allowing access through a hole less than ¾ inch in diameter. The unit is powered by three 3-volt, lithium batteries.

An interesting feature of the unit is its integral RF transmitter, capable of line-of-sight transmission to almost 1 mile. A tactical officer can provide instant sharing to his commander. Similarly, a CSI can share the internal view of a wall, and even record what is seen before damage is made to the wall. A bomb squad can mount the H.H.I.T. to its robot and safely look inside any target the camera will fit into.

The H.H.I.T. combines features, size and capabilities to make it a prime choice for a video inspection and viewing tool. It is a cutting-edge tool, for use in an evolving world.

Hands-free lighting
Hands-free lighting is a tremendous aid to the investigator. Processing for fingerprints, collecting evidence, writing notes, all are made easier when the officer does not need to juggle tools, pen and light. The introduction of specifically designed tools is also a great improvement over holding a flashlight in one's mouth or taped to an arm.

The Brimlight is an affordable hands-free light source. A lightweight, foam rubber-like material, shaped like the brim of a ball cap, contains five LEDs, four CR2032 batteries, and a push-button switch. Two spring metal clips attach it to the brim of a ball cap, or any hat with a similar brim thickness. When lit, the unit provides a pattern of light out to 20 feet or more.

Currently, the light is available in white or red LEDs, and will soon be available with green LEDs. The manufacturer is testing UV LEDs, and hopes to produce the Brimlight with UV capability soon.

The Naples, Florida, company's BrimLight provides an economical, hands-free lighting device that can attach to a variety of headgear.

The 2006 SHOT Show's forensics' offerings were a true feast for a law enforcement investigator.

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