Investigator-Virtual Reality (I-VR), National Forensic Science Technology Center, University of Tennessee Law Enforcement Innovation Center
“Virtual reality: A reality for crime scene training” by Rebecca Kanable
Brian Cochran, a detective for 11 years, is a graduate of UT’s National Forensic Academy and was among those who helped develop the training. “Overall, the training is meant to be introductory,” says Cochran, who works in the crime scene unit of the Boone County Sheriff’s Office in Kentucky. “It [covers] general things: scene security, searching for evidence, and properly packaging, documenting and photographing evidence—the fundamentals of crime scene management and processing.”
Entry-level law enforcement personnel who may want to become crime scene investigators or forensic practitioners can benefit from I-VR. The training can also be used as a refresher for seasoned investigators, says Emily Miller, a specialist with LEIC at UT’s Institute for Public Service.
I-VR is an online version of NFA’s 10-week, in-residence program for crime scene investigators. During the online training, students work with a virtual instructor to learn the tools, processes and skills required to manage a crime scene and find evidence. As they complete the lessons, students become virtual crime scene investigators who collect evidence and document a virtual case.
For active law enforcement officers who register in 2012, the Investigator-Virtual Reality (I-VR) training is free of charge and funded by the National Institute of Justice. The joint efforts of UT and NFSTC working on Investigator-Virtual Reality earned a Best Collaboration Award at the 2012 BizTech Innovation Summit Awards & Expo.
Read more in your November issue, Page 8.
“In search of a tactical torch” (June, Page 24) and “Brighter is better” (August, Page 37) by Lindsey Bertomen
- SL-20L, Stinger LED, Sidewinder Compact II, and Night Com UV, Streamlight
- BD-180-MH, BD-198-HLS, Tactical Balls, EPLI, Brite Strike
- InfiniStar, TerraLux
- 7060 and 8060, Pelican
- HD Torch, Bushnell
- Quark X AA Tactical, 4sevens
- MX 431, Leupold
- LightStar 80, TerraLUX
- Dark Energy SOG DE-02, SOG
- K3, Nextorch K3
- HP 21, Coast
LEX 700, Motorola Solutions, and PTT Smartphone, Thales USA
“The public safety super phone” by Tabatha Wethal
In anticipation for the yet-to-come nationwide broadband network for first responders, multinational telecom companies have been at work developing the first LE-only mobile phones that do a whole lot more than yesterday’s commercial offerings. Motorola and Thales have devices ready to go in the next year or so that will offer LTE compatibility and will communicate off the national broadband wireless network currently under construction (figuratively) by standards-creating governing bodies like the National Institute of Technology and The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council.
“We are advancing a completely new category of public safety multimedia devices that provide first responders with unprecedented access to powerful applications and always-on public safety broadband,” says Bob Schassler, senior vice president in Radio Solutions at Motorola.
The devices are similar in offerings, which include a handheld “phone” (though both companies are reluctant to use that terminology, as well as Motorola was not crazy about the idea of calling a such device as a “public safety super phone”) company-exclusive plans for core apps for each device (a camera/video app, for example) and the ability for developers to create apps for the platforms similar to how the Apple and Android markets currently operate.
Motorola Solutions’ LEX 700 Mission Critical Handheld delivers a compact, rugged form factor with intuitive user interface and access to multimedia applications.
Bob Andreas, with Thales USA Defense & Security, explains the company’s handheld device will also offer PTT and other features integrated into a Long Term Evolution solution to accompany the national broadband network currently underway for U.S. public safety.
Read more in your July issue, Page 12.
Bruzer, Bruzer Less Lethal
“Looks like a 12-gauge, hits like a bean bag” by Sara Schreiber
Tommy Teach and his business partner, David Sult, run the company Bruzer Less Lethal, in Elkhart, Ind. There they produce the compact 12-gauge less-lethal launcher (the Bruzer) that uses an array of off-the-shelf less-lethal ammunition. The compact, orange- or black-barreled launcher made its debut at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in Chicago last October .
The fact that the 100-percent U.S.-made Bruzer looks so strikingly similar to its lethal cousin is no accident. The lightweight device can be drawn from a leg rig, vest-mount or cross-draw holster. It is a versatile option for officers, and intimidating to whomever happens to be on the other end. The two-shot launcher is simple to maintain and does not require chargers or batteries; it operates like a gun and has a multiple shot capacity.
Users can easily change out the munitions based on their unique situation, utilizing things like kinetic energy impact, chemical delivery, flash bang ordnance and flare/signaling. An ALS rubber-finned rocket can reach distances of 50 feet. For those officers who find themselves in close quarters situations (think corrections), Teach says Lightfield Less Lethal’s star rounds and West Coast Ammunition’s Accusox bean bag munitions have been shown to be the most successful.
The company also offers accessories like Kydex holsters (manufactured by Holsters Plus) for a MOLLE vest, a drop belt or a drop leg rig, in addition to offering the appropriate ammunition and training courses for operators and instructors in the military, law enforcement and private security firms.
Optional high visibility orange barrels are available, and law enforcement agencies can decide whether they want the orange barrels or black. Teach says that while it’s a personal preference, SWAT teams performing tactical entries or breaching have reported that they typically prefer the black, while patrol officers on the street might gravitate to the orange for ease of visual identification.
Down the road, Teach says they are looking to implement a few safety features that will prevent a lethal 12-gauge shell from inadvertently being inserted into the launcher. “We’ll actually change a part out in the gun…so you have no cross-contamination. You can try to fire it, but the launcher won’t operate.”
Read more in your January issue, Page 33.
“At-home bullet testing: Try it today” (May, Page 44) “Back to ballistics” (July, Page 34)
by Lindsey Bertomen
- Winchester 45 Automatic +P 230 gr T-Series, 40 S&W 180-gr Bonded JHP, 357 SIG 125-gr Bonded JHP, 95-gr JHP Bonded 380 auto PDXI
- Remington 45 230-gr Brass JHP
- Hornady 45 185-gr FTX Critical Defense, 40 S&W 165-gr FTX Critical Defense, 357 SIG 115-gr FTX Critical Defense, 90-gr 380 auto Critical Defense
- Cor-Bon 110-gr DPX
XSE Commander Pistol, Colt
“Colt’s XSE Commander lives up to its legacy” by Lindsey Bertomen
The Colt XSE series includes the Government, Commander and Lightweight Commander model handguns with common features like front and rear slide serrations, checkered double diamond rosewood grips, an extended ambidextrous safety, a three-hole adjustable aluminum trigger, and enhanced hammer and low profile white dot sights. The grip safety has a generous upswept portion with a narrow combat-style beaver tail.
This gun does not masquerade as a “show” or a target gun. It did its best work in rapid fire combat shooting sequences, which is its intended purpose.
The handgun does have a trigger safety of the Series 80 legacy, which is appropriate for a law enforcement product. The trigger safety really doesn’t do much except prevent the gun from discharging if dropped from a severe height. The trigger on the Commander was typical for a duty gun. It broke cleanly, but target shooters would comment on the length of the take up and its overall “feel.” The trigger is adjustable by the end-user, but I found it fine for LE use.
The sights are the low profile style with a ramped rear. Users can quickly align the three dots. The rounded slide top is textured (I was thankful for this because I shot into the sun in most of my range sessions.) I started out shooting at a 6 o’clock hold, meaning I aligned my sights at the bottom center of the bulls-eye when shooting. The gun printed a little to the right at center mass. Since the sights allowed drifting and use a set screw, adjustments are not even an issue.
There is a noticeable undercut in the trigger guard. About a millimeter of stock has been radiused where the knuckle of the shooting hand rides underneath. Most users will like this feature because it lowers the pivot area of the recoil.
Read more in your February issue, Page 52.