The SMART Baton was first envisioned thanks to a police officer's experience with SOP that limited his ability to use his flashlight and still have access to his sidearm.
I was a New Jersey State Patrolman making a stop on the New Jersey Turnpike one night when I requested backup. The car that responded was my sergeant, who assisted me with the stop. Just before leaving the scene, the sergeant told me, "You know, there is a new SOP regarding your side-handled baton that says it must be carried all the time."
"Even at night?" I asked.
"Even at night."
I realized that this would mean when carrying my flashlight, at the time a 6-cell Maglite, I would be forced to abandon my baton in order to draw my sidearm, so I began thinking of ways to solve the issue of having only two hands. Not long after the stop, a trooper was charged with murder for killing a motorist with a blow from his flashlight. I knew the courts had decided that an intermediate weapon was required, and that a flashlight was not appropriate. I began to make prototypes of a side-handled baton which also included a light. As the trooper's trial proceeded, I developed the first working model, and the first lighted side-handled baton was born.