Additionally, Clyde is working to get a USB port stored inside a small chip in the handle. This would do a few things: It would be able to download information to a computer and store data. In conjunction with that, a card reader could gather information from drivers’ licenses. Clyde explains, “If I approach a vehicle, and ask for license and registration, I could scan your license without you being aware of it. We’d send a signal to the station through the repeater system. If the guy was suspended or had warrants the handle of the baton would vibrate once if you were suspended, or twice if you had warrants.”
Looking ahead, Clyde has even more projects in the works. One is an easy road flare baton for helping officers remain visible while directing traffic. Another is a baton with a strike meter, which would record the heft of a strike in foot-pounds. This would be especially helpful inside the academy, so when officers should use the baton in a real-life situation they’ll know their own strength, so to speak. He expects some of the newest features to be ready to demonstrate at the IACP show in Chicago, Oct. 22 to 26 (booth 655).
Hopkins has his own wish list. In his search and rescue activities, he wouldn’t mind seeing a short-range way to use the emergency alert system to keep track of people in a group. “Even if I had some kind of proximity [feature] where it would vibrate a little when it got near another [baton] ... a lot of times in the dark I don’t know, and you don’t want to just yell out.”
The possibilities are endless. “It’s a lot more resilient than you’d think it is,” says Hopkins of the SMART Baton. “It fits perfectly in the duty belt and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do … and it has the potential to do a lot more.”