Crowd Control! Who to Call?

May 11, 2020
What if law enforcement could make one call to be fully stocked and ready with crowd control equipment and riot gear within a few days?

What if law enforcement could make one call to be fully stocked and ready with crowd control equipment and riot gear within a few days? And we’re not just talking about a few pairs of shin pads and gloves – but the full works – full riot suits, riot helmets, riot shields and protective accessories to keep officers safe during public disturbances.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Meet EDI-USA.

Since the 1990s, communities have experienced higher and higher levels of public disturbances and demonstrations. Local, state and national law enforcement do their best to protect communities when public disturbances break out, but at the end of the day officers need access to protective gear to keep them safe during crowd control operations.

When EDI-USA, a developer and manufacturer of crowd control equipment based in Pennsylvania (think: riot suits, riot helmets, and any Robocop-like accessory you can imagine), came onto the scene, many departments around the country were using tactical gear from the 1970s which were literally disintegrating in storage rooms. EDI-USA set out to change that, and so far their work in modernizing and updating departments’ equipment around the country has been remarkably successful.

Developing and manufacturing some of the strongest crowd control equipment in the world, EDI-USA is known for its innovative riot suitsriot helmets, and tough police shields. Whenever EDI looks to launch a new crowd control product it carefully reviews past incidents of officer safety and patters of dangerous incidents during public disturbances. This model has propelled EDI to be one of the preferred partners of law enforcement agencies around the country.

But who is behind EDI and what do they know about police technology?

Staffed with a high-energy team of product developers, tactical trainers and business experts, not to mention retired law enforcement and military veterans, EDI-USA is changing the way police procure their crowd control equipment globally.

“The key is finding a balance between speedy delivery and a quality products that law enforcement can trust with their lives,” explains Mike Sansores, Director of Tactical Training for EDI-USA. “Anyone can place an order for a box of gear, but without receiving it on time or having the proper training, then what’s the point? From our start, EDI has perfected the art of riot gear design allowing high quality gear to reach the hands of police agents who need them in a fast an effective way.” Mr. Sansores continues to explain, “Furthermore, we have also built multi-level tactical training program to ensure that officers who use our gear are prepared for some of the toughest situations.”

With EDI-USA providing equipment ranging from riot shields to tactical batons to departments around the United States, EDI wanted to also find a way to support men and women serving in overseas police departments who have also experienced the same daily policing challenges as officers in the USA.

A global presence 

Today, EDI-USA operates in over 45 countries, and their global presence is wide and far reaching. The leader behind EDI’s massive international expansion program is Chris Sfedu, Director of International Expansion for EDI-USA. “In 2012 we made the decision to launch a large-scale export program that focused on providing cutting-edge police equipment to law enforcement departments around the world,” explains Mr. Sfedu. “We worked closely with US and international police departments to help assist police in obtaining reliable and safe equipment for their operations. The program resulted with EDI-USA being recognized as not just a trusted brand in America for protective crowd control equipment, but as a global leader in tactical equipment norms and standards.” Mr. Sfedu goes on to discuss the importance of details: “Attention to details is what got us here, and we need to remember to always put the end user first. For example, when we were initially developing our signature TURBO-X Riot Suit for police serving in Europe, we decided to make a secondary model to help serve police in South America for their specific daily threats. It’s important that law enforcement manufacturers remember to be ready to adapt in both a professional and personal manner whenever working with those who rely on their technology.”

Mr. Chris Sfedu, originally from Philadelphia, was responsible in leading this global transformation of EDI from being a regional law enforcement provider in the USA to one of the largest tactical exporters around the world. “We need to remember that manufacturers like EDI have a responsibility to end users around the world in order to guarantee fast delivery and superior quality. When lifesaving items used in crowd control don’t arrive on time or have faulty component then that can be the difference between life and death. That does not fly with us. Period.” 

If manufacturers like EDI-USA make tactical gear so easily accessible to law enforcement both in the US and around the world, then why are many departments so poorly prepared when things get tough?

“Bureaucracy and budget,” states Lauren Stabz, EDI-USA’s Director of Law Enforcement Outreach. “I call it the tough ‘BB.’ End user officers know that they need updated equipment, and most of the time so do their sergeants, lieutenants, captains and chiefs, but it can be tough to secure budget for urgent purchases. And that’s where we come in to help.” Ms. Stabz explains how both in the US and around the world police purchasing can be paralyzed by delays out of their control. “Although this reality does exist, EDI feels it has a responsibility to work closely with police and always be an available resource for end users when they think about replacing any critical equipment. We start early in working with police departments on all levels to ensure they are fully aware of all the options they have to fit their specific work environments. Certain items such as riot shields and ballistic helmets can last longer than other items riot suits and gas masks, so it’s important that providers work regularly with users to ensure optimal readiness of their equipment.”

No matter wherever you live in the USA or world, police will always be an essential part of our communities. “The reality is that public disturbances will continue to happen,” says Mr. Sfedu. “And what will save lives is the ability to listen carefully to the needs of law enforcement take action to help get them what they need fast. We cannot just be reactive these days waiting for a compromising situation to happen; instead we need to work daily to ensure those who keep us safe can be kept safe in return.”

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