Thursday, March 29, 2012

2012 COPS Conference

Registration for the 2012 COPS Conference is now open.  Registration is free, however, spots are limited and it is recommended to register early. This conference generally draws attendees from across the country, including command and patrol-level police officers, criminal justice professionals, and community leaders.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is holding this years conference at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda in Bethesda, MD on August 1-2, 2012.  This year the conference is going to focus on The Evolution of Public Safety In America.  Utilizing case studies and workshops, they will examine the effects the economy has had on police services throughout the country.  They will also explore some major changes that have occurred as a result of rapid technological advances in recent years.

According to Police One, topics that will be addressed are:

Community policing topics that will be addressed:
  • Operational innovations that promote greater efficiency in performance and cost effectiveness
  • Strategies for addressing rapidly evolving forms of cyber-crime
  • Practical guidance for taking advantage of the latest technology tools
  • Risk-assessment models for more targeted use of scarce resources
  • Opportunities, trends, and concerns related to collaboration, resource-sharing, and regionalization
  • The implications of police legitimacy
Session Topics:

  • Cyberbullying
  • Risk Assessment
  • Consolidation and Regionalization
  • Greater Use of Technology
  • Private/Public Partnerships
  • Officer Suicide/Wellness
  • Labor Management
  • Militarization
  • Public Health/Public Safety
  • TAPS Program
  • And more
For more information on this conference, visit

Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Panasonic Toughbook CF-52

When most people think of Toughbook, their first thoughts are of a CF-30 or CF-19.  After all, that is what Toughbooks are primarily known for...the heavy-duty, fully-rugged, water-resistant laptops utilized by police, fire, and EMS departments throughout the United States.

For those that don't plan on mounting their laptops in their vehicle, but still want something durable, there are semi-rugged Toughbook options.  A popular semi-rugged Toughbook option would be the CF-52.  It has many of the same qualities as the fully-rugged models without the weight or the price-tag.

The casing of the Panasonic Toughbook CF-52 is similar to that of the fully-rugged models.  It has a magnesium alloy casing that is significantly thicker than that of your standard laptop, which protects it from the accidental bumps and knocks that occur with a laptop placed in a briefcase or laptop bag.

Hard Drive
Like the fully-rugged line, the hard drive is fully protected in the Panasonic Toughbook CF-52.  The caddy surrounds the hard drive with a protective cushion layer which protects that hard drive against sudden movements or bumps, keeping your data safe.

Water and Dust Resistant
Please note that water resistant is not the same as water proof, however, the CF-52 will withstand minor spills or a brief light misting of rain.  All of the ports on the sides of the unit seal of tightly, keeping out dust and liquid spillage.  As for the top of the unit, there is a water resistant plate below the keyboard.  Although you may ruin your keyboard if you spill on it, the motherboard should remain fully functional.
Drop Resistant
Although we do not recommend dropping your Toughbook to test its durability, the CF-52 is drop-rated.  Per Panasonic, the CF-52 is capable of withstanding a one foot drop onto plywood.  This would be roughly the equivalent of dropping your briefcase.  Note that even if damage were to occur to the casing, the previously mentioned hard drive caddy would protect the data on your hard drive.

Weather Resistant
Like other Panasonic Toughbooks, the CF-52 is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions.  It will adequately handle being utilized in both extreme cold and extreme heat.  This is a great option for anyone who might need to travel with their laptop or leave it in a vehicle for extended periods of time.

Bigger Screen
A major design difference between the semi-rugged and fully-rugged lines of Toughbooks is the ability to get a larger display.  The CF-52 comes equipped with a 15" widescreen display, compared to the 13.3" display of the CF-30 and the 10.4" display of the CF-19.

To determine if a semi-rugged laptop is for you, or if you require a fully-rugged one, check out our blogs "What Does Rugged Mean?" and "How To Buy The Right Mobile Computer For Your Department".

Thursday, March 22, 2012

LIDAR Speed Guns

Digital Ally is a technology-driven company specializing in advanced digital video police cameras and law enforcement surveillance equipment. The are the makers of the most advanced LIDAR speed gun available. Digital Ally’s LIDAR and video systems offer the features and reliability you need.

Laser Ally™ LIDAR Speed Guns are a new breakthrough in hand-held LIDAR speed detectors. Designed in conjunction with one of the leading experts in LIDAR, they provide...

  • Extreme Accuracy - 
  • Pinpoint the speed and direction of a vehicle in single or multi-lane traffic. Unlike with traditional RADAR, laser speed detectors utilize an extremely narrow beam, allowing speed detection and targeting to be unaffected by traffic congestion.
  • Cutting Edge Anti-Jamming Technology - 
  • Laser Ally Speed Guns were the only LIDAR systems not detected or jammed in a recent third-party test against LIDAR jammers.
  • Total Reliability - 
  • Laser Ally Speed Guns are ruggedized.  They are built for heavy use, and they are waterproof for harsh environmental conditions.  They are amazingly fast and accurate with anti-jamming technology, and provide complete courtroom credibility. The gun's body is composed of a polycarbonate ABS blend for strength and chemical resistance. Critical alignment components are tied together by a second internal die cast metal structure to withstand a drop without requiring realignment.

Laser Ally LIDAR Speed Guns Feature:
  • Small, Light & Balanced
  • Incredible, Extended Range
  • Extremely Fast Acquisition Time
  • Advanced Anti-Jamming
  • Tree, Fence, etc. Obstruction Mode
  • Superior Weather Mode
  • True Continuous Tracking with Audio
  • Internal Electronic Tests, Software Verification & Digitally Locked High Speed Timing
  • True Color 1:1 Head-Up Display for Accurate Vehicle Colors & No Eye Strain
  • Models Available for Still Image & Video Recording
  • Optional Folding 8x Monocular HUD Scope for Extended Range Identification
  • Easy To Use Menu
  • Improved Alignment Stability
  • Integrates with Digital Ally DVM & Ultra Video Systems
  • Optional Water-Resistant, Portable Ticket Printer
  • 32-Hour Battery Life with Auto Sleep Mode
  • Waterproof & Impact Resistant
  • In-The-Field Software Upgradeable

Grant opportunities for LIDAR speed guns are available at various online funding sites.  Digital Ally also offers various financing and purchasing options to ease the burden of the purchasing process.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

30-Day Trial On Tactical Headsets

Tactical Command Industries, Inc. is a communication integration company with expertise and focus on tactical communication headsets. They provide standard commercial products as well as customized solutions.  Their primary customers include law-enforcement, military, and various defense contractors.

TCI is a different from other tactical communication companies, as it was founded by tactical professions who combined have over several-thousands of hours of tactical training and mission work.  The experience and expertise of TCI's founders enable them to truly understand the requirements of their customers, allowing them to create and develop products that deliver solutions and exceed customer expectations time and time again.

The product line offered by TCI is diverse and has an option for virtually all tactical teams.  A catalog can be requested to view their full product line.  The Liberator II (pictured right) is one of the newest lines from TCI.  It was recently featured on Sons of Guns (Discovery Channel) during the testing of a Super Tommy Gun.

TCI has a remarkable no-obligation, 30-day headset evaluation program.  This program is available to all qualified government and law enforcement end users.  To participate in the 30-day evaluation, simple fill out the Evaluation Request Form.  Once the form is received, you will be contacted by TCI to set up your evaluation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Senator Coons (DE) Honorary Chair of Emergency Responder Safety Institute

U.S. Senator Chris Coons has been selected to serve as the honorary chair of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association’s Emergency Responder Safety Institute, which serves as an advisory group committed to reducing death and injuries to emergency responders operating on the highways helping others.

The Institute was formed to address the increasing number of injuries and deaths due to secondary accidents involving fire, law enforcement, transportation and towing and recovery personnel while they provide assistance on nation’s roadways. The Institute has received three national awards for its work in this important area and is recognized as a leader in highway incident scene safety.

“Growing up and living in Delaware has given me a sincere appreciation of the sacrifices our state’s first responders make on a daily basis,” Senator Coons said. “I am grateful to be named honorary chair of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association’s Emergency Responder Safety Institute. I look forward to working even more closely with first responders to improve the safety of our country’s emergency personnel who are sadly still too often injured and killed serving our communities.”

A longtime advocate for emergency responders, Senator Coons was a co-sponsor and vocal supporter of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009, which was passed in December and was signed into law in January. The bill, which was the first piece of legislation Senator Coons co-sponsored, provides federal funding for medical monitoring and treatment for responders and survivors exposed to toxins at Ground Zero – including 61 first responders from Delaware.

In his four years as County Council President and six as County Executive in New Castle County, Senator Coons fought to protect first responders and improve fire dispatch, opened a new, state of the art public safety headquarters, and supported efforts to increase the number of county police officers in the force and on patrol. Sadly during his tenure as County Executive Firefighter/EMT Michele Smith of the Delaware City Fire Company lost her life when she was struck by a hit and run driver as she treated an accident victim near New Castle.

Created as a committee of the 110 year old Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association, the Emergency Responder Safety Institute serves as an advisory group of public safety leaders and transportation experts committed to reducing deaths and injuries to America's emergency responders. 

Article retrieved from

Monday, March 19, 2012

FLIR Thermal Night Vision

FLIR Systems thermal imagers are powerful tools in the fight against crime. They allow officers to see suspects in total darkness, through smoke, moderate fog, and light foliage. A FLIR handheld thermal imager allows you to see the suspect, without revealing your location. If your agency already has an airborne unit using a FLIR camera, you will understand the power of this technology.

The new FLIR H-Series Bi-Ocular camera gives law enforcement officers the ability to see more and see farther in infrared than with other low-light night vision goggles. Featuring a full coverage eyepiece, inter-ocular adjustment, ergonomic comfort, straightforward controls, and the rivaled performance that only FLIR can deliver, the FLIR H-Series Bi-Ocular is a must-have for extended patrols, covert surveillance, critical infrastructure protection, and high-threat security missions.

Unlike traditional night vision, thermal imaging technology detects radiation and temperature differences. That means you can see even in pitch black, as well as through smoke, light fog and foliage. Your FLIR H-Series Bi-Ocular includes:

  • Quick-Disconnect Modularity: Choose one or all of the following lenses: 35 mm, 65 mm, and 100 mm. Raised rubber sleeves and captive low-profile lens caps protect your lens investment.
  • Extended Range Options: Standard 320 x 240 with 2x digital e-zoom is powerful enough for you to detect a human about 2 kilometers away. Optional 640 x 480 resolution comes with up to 4x digital e-zoom that is powerful enough to detect a human almost 2.5 kilometers away.
  • Fast Power & Battery Swap: Latched door offers quick access to batteries. “Snap” FLIR Scout BHS Bi-Ocular onto its quick-release hot shoe to switch instantly to AC power.
  • Standard Photo & Video Capture: One-touch recording, focus, and zoom is a necessity in the field when your target is on the move. 
FLIR Systems also offers grant opportunities for various government agencies, which significantly decrease the cost of purchase.  To apply for a grant, click here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How To Afford New(er) Computer Equipment

Most departments would like to fill their police cruisers and emergency vehicles with the newest and greatest technology available.  However, with how often technology changes and advances, it is nearly impossible to afford the continuous process of upgrading.

We've written several blogs about how to finance your purchases through grants.  However, grant money can be difficult to acquire.  Grant requests must be adequately written, and moneys received from grants are only allowed to be spent on very specific items.  This leaves very little leeway in purchasing if inventory at your vendor changes in the time it takes to get your grant approval and funding.

Another option that tends to be overlooked quite frequently is buy back or trade-in.  At Bob Johnson's Computer Stuff we will happily buy back your previously purchased equipment from us when you are ready to upgrade to newer Toughbooks.  If you didn't purchase your current computers or mobile data terminals from us, that's fine too...we will happily take them for trade-in value on the purchase of Toughbooks.

Our buy back/trade-in program is only the beginning of the savings when you purchase from us.  As a refurbishd Panasonic Toughbook dealer, the units that we sell are generally 50-75% less than the cost of new units.  If you are worried about purchasing a "used" Toughbook, you shouldn't.  Used Toughbooks are fully refurbished and are often in like-new condition.  All refurbished units at Bob Johnson's Computer Stuff come fully equipped with a limited lifetime warranty (something a new Panasonic Toughbook does not).  

By combining your trade-in units with the purchase of a refurbished unit, you have the ability to double, triple, or even quadruple the number of units you are able to purchase for the same price!

If you would like more information on our trade-in program or the cost of our refurbished Toughbooks please don't hesitate to contact us.  We can be reached phone at 877-202-7788 or email.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Street Survival Seminar

For thirty years, the Street Survival Seminar has provided hundreds of thousands of police officers with insights and ideas for staying safe on patrol. Held more than three dozen times every year, the Seminar has visited virtually every state in the Union — including Alaska and Hawaii — on at least one occasion. It’s been held in hundreds of cities in America — some locations, such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, have become annual events. Other locations — like Cleveland, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Kansas City, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and San Diego — are visited once every two or three years. It is commonplace for officers with the RCMP in Canada to attend seminars in the Northern Tier, and officers from as far away as Vladivostok, Russia have flown to the United States to attend.

If you ask a roomful of cops whether they’ve ever heard of the Street Survival Seminar, you’re likely to have good number of them tell you they’ve attended. Furthermore, they’ll probably tell you sign up for the next time it’s held within a 300-mile radius of your department.

But it wasn’t always this big, this successful, or this well-known. It wasn’t always videos and PowerPoint slides. The Seminar, like so many things in law enforcement, has evolved over time. But the mission — which is at once simple and complex — has remained the same: “Provide the most dynamic, intense, innovative, and motivational training experience available to the law enforcement community.”

Here, we take a brief look back at this thing that’s become an institution for officer safety, but this article is far from complete without your own stories, memories, and thoughts.

Humble Beginnings
The Street Survival Seminar is the brainchild of Chuck Remsberg, a freelance writer with a master’s degree in journalism, and Denny Anderson, a Minnesota native who produced law enforcement training films for Motorola Teleprograms. Together, Anderson and Remsberg created training films, and although neither man knew much about book publishing, in early 1980 they released “Street Survival” under the publishing name of Calibre Press, a small company based in Chuck’s Northbrook (Ill.) basement.

Remsberg tells PoliceOne, “Sometime that summer, a reserve officer from Lansing, Ill. — a Chicago suburb — tracked me down by phone at a party one night. He had just read the book, was very excited about it, and asked if Denny and I would meet with officers of his acquaintance and talk about the book and its lessons on officer survival.”

Remsberg says that he and Anderson agreed, and met one evening with perhaps a dozen officers. They talked about the book and showed a film called Survival Shooting Techniques, an earlier Rembsberg/Anderson collaboration from which parts of the Street Survival book had emerged.
“This meeting was held at an elementary school,” Remsberg recalls, “and the cops, most of them in full uniform with duty gear hanging off their belts, were shoehorned into grade school desk-chairs to listen. It was a pretty humble event. Denny forgot to bring some slides that accompanied the film, so we drew various tactical moves on a chalk board. We drove the long distance back to our homes pretty discouraged at what we considered a failed performance.”

Despite the presenters’ own feelings about the evening, the cops in attendance appreciated what they’d seen, and began to do what cops do — talk amongst themselves. It wasn’t long before a training officer from the Richton Park Police Department, a neighboring suburban department, asked Denny and Chuck to present a day-long program to about 100 officers. It was so popular that second presentation was added for the Autumn.

“During the winter, we received a desperate call from a campus cop at Youngstown State University in Ohio. He had booked a two-day training program for his area but the would-be presenters had cancelled out on him, leaving him holding the bag. Based on the book’s growing reputation and popularity, he wondered if we could put together an officer survival program to fill in. We agreed upon a presentation in February 1981, I believe.”

About 350 officers from eight states showed up for that training and were wildly enthusiastic about it. As a result, the team got invitations from multiple departments to repeat the program.
“From then on,” Rembsberg says, “we were in the seminar business on an ongoing basis.”

Sustainable Growth
Even in the early years, it soon became clear that the Seminar was simply too big for just too men — at one Las Vegas presentation, more than 900 officers from some 30 states and Canada were present. Although Remsberg and Anderson were initially the sole instructors, as the seminar grew in popularity, and to enable its founders time for their other professional pursuits, new instructors were added.

“After a year or two we hired Dave Tracy, a trainer and SWAT officer from Maryland, as an instructor to replace me so I could work on the Tactical Edge. About a year after that, we hired Dave Smith to replace Denny so he could work on Surviving Edged Weapons, our first video production. Denny and I appeared as instructors periodically after that, but for the most part we relied on professional cops to conduct the program.”

Dave Smith says, “In 1983, Denny and Chuck contacted me about the Buck Savage training videos I had done and the next thing I knew I was standing on a stage in San Diego doing a Street Survival Seminar. I did the seminars from August ‘83 through the end of ‘85 when my department commitments became too great to continue doing the seminars. I can’t express how proud I was to become involved again in 1999 and continue to be part of it to today. I always leave a seminar feeling so proud of the men and women of law enforcement and thinking of the things I have learned from those who attended. It has been an education so vast and intense — I couldn’t have gotten any better laboratory in the world than the Street Survival Seminar. I will always be grateful to Denny and Chuck for the opportunity that changed my life.”

Dave Grossi, who taught the seminars for a dozen years, recalls, “My first contact with the Street Survival Seminar was in 1987. Chuck and Denny contacted me and asked if I would fly to Cleveland, view the three-day seminar, and evaluate the program. I did, and shortly thereafter they asked me to join the staff. I began instructing part-time in January 1988, until I joined the staff as a full time instructor after my retirement from active police duty in 1990. Back then, we traveled with twelve large media cases which contained four slide/film projectors, over a dozen reels of film, and more than two thousand slides.”

Smiths’ and Grossi’s stories are not uncommon. It’s interesting to note that Calibre Press has never hired an instructor or presenter for the Street Survival Seminar who “applied” for the job. They “recruit” their cadre of instructors from police training experts based on their specific qualifications and credentials.

At the end of 2002, Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith was on the marketing team for Calibre Press and had her own show on LETN, the organization that owned Calibre at the time. Brantner Smith saw Lt. Jim Glennon teaching at a Northwestern Staff and Command Course and approached him. Glennon later met with Dave Smith, and was invited to attend the seminar a couple of times. Soon thereafter, Glennon’s recruitment was complete.

“The Street Survival Seminar made me delve into the reality of violence against police officers and made me study pre-attack indicators and body language more,” Glennon says. “Getting the chance to teach this has been an unbelievable opportunity and I’m thankful that I can interact with cops all over the country, hear their stories, listen to their victories, mistakes, losses, and bond with them in a profession that I love.”
In 2003, Calibre recruited from within — making Sgt. Brantner Smith an instructor after she developed the Street Survival for Women seminar, which was the first and remains only of its kind to this day.

Brantner Smith recalls, “As a young cop in the Chicago suburbs in the 1980's, ‘Street Survival’ was new on the scene but already legendary in its impact on my chosen profession. I read the book and then looked into the seminar. My department wouldn't pay for me to attend so I did what so many of our students do — I paid for it myself and used vacation days to attend. As I watched Dave Smith and Dave Tracy on stage, I was completely blown away! There was so much I didn't know, so much I needed to learn, to improve upon. And when I left I wanted to share it all with my fellow cops! I left my first seminar a totally different person and a completely different cop, and I truly believe that what I learned from Calibre Press in the early days of my career truly saved my life on more than one occasion in my 29 years as a cop. To stand before my peers now and deliver those same lessons is a privilege beyond words.”

Remsberg, Anderson, and the seminar instructors continued to research and craft content so the material remained fresh and up-to-date. Remsberg credits Scott Buhrmaster, who signed on with Calibre Press in June of 1989, as playing a key role in that effort, “with his excellent research skills.”

Speaking of founders Remsberg and Anderson, Buhrmaster recalls: “What struck me most was their tireless and unwavering dedication to getting the best officer survival information from the best sources and refining it and disseminating it to a degree never before seen in law enforcement. These two individuals taught me the value of going the extra mile, regardless of the sometimes extraordinary effort it took, to get the kind of detailed information officers truly needed to stay safe. We had the honor of interviewing thousands of officers and trainers, who selflessly shared their knowledge — and even details of their own tactical mistakes that in many instances cost them dearly — in the interest of making sure other officers could benefit from what they knew and had learned. I can think of no other professional position in which you have the profound opportunity to speak to an officer who, often through tears, tells you that he’s alive today because of the work you and your organization have done. That’s a truly life-changing experience.”

Today, the Street Survival Seminar Instructor Cadre consists of:
• Sgt. Raimondo “Ray” DeCunto, a law enforcement officer since 1981, retired from the Narcotics Division of the Pinellas Country Sheriff's Office in 2009
• Lt. Jim Glennon, who recently retired from the Lombard (Ill.) Police Department after serving that community since 1980
• Timothy M. Goergen, Chief of Police for the Village of Bloomingdale and a police officer since 1980
• Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, who recently retired from the Naperville (Ill.) Police Department after 29 years of service
• Dave “Buck Savage” Smith, an internationally-known speaker, trainer, and writer who has been an integral part of Calibre Press for more than 20 years
In addition to the “faces” of the seminar seen on stage across the country, the team also includes nearly a dozen planning and logistics people, sales and marketing staff, and other individuals essential to each seminar’s success.

But without question, the people without whom any of it would be possible are the police officers (and their spouses) who attend. Jim Glennon puts it this way: “Dave Smith once told me that cops at the seminars open up to the instructors about some very intense and intimate issues. Marriage, shootings, near death experiences, supervisors, loss of friends, you name it. And that’s true, they trust us after just few hours together and tell us things they have never shared with others and after we all go back home, we keep in touch through emails. Pretty cool.”

Article by Doug Wyllie of Police One

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Importance of In-Vehicle Cameras

As a dealer of refurbished Panasonic Toughbooks utilized primarily in police cruisers, we are questioned quite often about vehicle cameras.  Do we sell them?  No, we do not, but the models of Toughbooks that we sell (such as the CF-29 and the CF-30) will easily support the software and hardware required for a camera.  And secondly, are they worth the money?  Absolutely!

Having a vehicle-mounted camera serves a great deal of functions.  The primary benefits of the vehicle mounted cameras are officer safety, increased professionalism, training, and homeland security.  We'll touch briefly on all of these topics...

Homeland Security
Although it is not generally viewed as an vehicle-camera, there are automated license plate readers.  These assist with the location of vehicles, as they are significantly more effective at monitoring license plates related to wants and warrants than an officer alone.

Increased Professionalism
Knowing that their actions can easily be reviewed because they were recorded, officers tend to be more likely to strictly adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by their department.  No one wants to be the spoof video of what not to do used in training classes.

As just mentioned, those videos of what to do and what no to do come from somewhere.  And there is no better way to teach new officers how to appropriately approach and interact with a subject than actual footage that shows what can happen in the field.

Officer Safety
Officer safety is two-fold.  By recording incidents as they occur, officers are protected against false claims of overly-assertive force or even abuse.  The cameras also record assaults taken against police officers.  Recently, an in-vehicle camera recorded the shooting of a Yolo County (CA) deputy, who regrettably did not survive.  Because of the recording, officers were able to apprehend the shooter, eliminating a cop-killer from the streets.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Robotics in Policing

ReconRobotics is the world leader in tactical, micro-robot systems. Worldwide, nearly 2,200 of the company’s robots have been deployed by the U.S. military and international friendly forces, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, bomb squads and fire/rescue teams. Each day, they use the company’s mobile Recon Scout® Throwbot® devices to protect their personnel, minimize collateral damage, and gain immediate reconnaissance within dangerous and hostile environments.

The company was formed in 2006 to commercialize robotics technology developed at the University of Minnesota Distributed Robotics Laboratory under funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation, among others. Today, ReconRobotics markets its products through a distribution network in more than 30 countries. Among the users of Recon Scout robots are the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps, as well as many Federal agencies, including the U.S. Marshals, DEA, Border Patrol, FBI and ATF.

The Recon Scout Throwbot reconnaissance robot is your man on the inside. It’s rugged, stealthy, mobile and unfailingly dependable, and it’s designed to take whatever abuse the job demands.

They are tough!  Throw it through a window, over a wall, or down the stairs and it lands ready-to-go.  The Recon Scout Throwbot is designed to be thrown up to 120 feet repeatedly without causing damage to the unit.  It is controlled by a single joystick, making it easy to use and maneuver.  The Throwbot can safely be maneuvered by the user from up to 300 feet away, keeping them at a safe distance from possible threats.  There are automatic infared lights on the Throwbot that allow users to easily see in the dark.  The Recon Scout helps you explore hostile or dangerous environments by providing real-time mission-critical reconnaissance video that enables your teams to act quickly, safely and decisively.

Various models of Recon Scout robotics are currently being utilized by Barrie Police Services (Ontario), Alameda County Sheriff, Berkeley SWAT, Burnsville SWAT, Huntington Park Tactical Team, Marietta SWAT, and Orlando SWAT.  (Click the links of the departments to read reviews of the Recon Scout being utilized in real-life deployments).

Before you send in your team, send in your Recon Scout Throwbot .

The products sold by Recon Robotics are eligible for grant assistance.  Applications can be processed at

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Will Smartphones Someday Replace Police Radios?

Although June 29, 2007 doesn't ring a bell as an important date to most people, it is quite an important day in relation to technology.  It has actually changed our lives more than any other day in recent history.  It's the day that Apple launched the iPhone, and the smartphone revolution began.

More than just a phone, the iPhone was the first true handheld computer that could run applications and easily browse the Internet in the same manner as a desktop computer. It was soon rivaled by a wide variety of smartphones running Google's Android operating system. The result has been an explosion of smartphone technology that has changed the way Americans and people worldwide communicate and use computers. Smartphones are also changing the way public safety personnel communicate, and they will continue to do so into the next decade.

Many experts say the smartphone will not become a truly viable law enforcement tool until a new high-speed data (LTE) system for public safety is in place. But even with the current commercial cellular data system smartphones are playing a major role in law enforcement operations.

Apps and Tools
The most common use of smartphones in law enforcement today is as reference tools. There are numerous apps that detail laws, policies, and procedures for cops in the field.

But more sophisticated software tools are also being developed for the smartphone. Spillman Technologies has adapted many of its mobile computing products for both phones and tablets. Spillman's Touch software is an app that lets officers access records, search databases, view dispatch information, and receive assignments on their phones. Most importantly, officers using Touch can be alerted to concerns about a contact while away from their in-car or desktop computers.

One of the most unusual software tools for the smartphone comes from covert video surveillance company Sur-Tec. The company's VP Covert Audio and GPS software is a 21st century version of a wireless mic for undercover operations. It runs in the background of a smartphone and cannot be detected by the target. Also because it uses Internet data instead of voice protocols, it can be monitored over a secure Web connection by multiple listeners based anywhere in the world.

The Next Level
But the smartphone revolution in law enforcement is not just about using the device as a platform for apps. Soon it may also be a mission critical communications tool for law enforcement.

Alert & Respond
That's the idea behind Covia Labs' new Alert & Respond. Scheduled for release this month, Alert & Respond provides any off-the-shelf smartphone with the command and control features and situational awareness needed by public safety.  Covia Labs' CEO David Kahn says the software is Java based, and it allows officers to share information securely over a variety of smartphones. "The platform is fundamentally an interoperability platform that allows the sharing of information between officers in the same or different agencies. But it goes beyond that because it allows the information to be shared securely," he says.

Using the software, which is available to agencies by subscription, officers can send texts, photos, and video. They can also track the location of other officers in their unit. Kahn gives the example of a team assembling for an operation. Using Alert & Respond, the team commander could indicate an assembly point on the map and send it to all team members over their phones.  Alert & Respond is also designed to aid in voice communications. "If you listen to police during a real incident, you'll hear a lot of officers asking, 'Can you repeat that?' Alert & Respond allows officers to play back voice communications so they will not need to repeat so many messages," Kahn explains.  Kahn says the only real problem with using smartphones for critical public safety communications is that cell phones have very weak signals. "They are generally half a watt. So police are rightfully wary."

Covia Labs and other companies are working on a solution to the cell signal problem. "We have come to the conclusion that if you add software to the land-mobile radios (LMR) and to the smartphones, you can make it so the LMR acts as a backup for the smartphones," Kahn says.

Push To Talk
One of the first steps in this direction was announced by radio manufacturer Harris Corp. last year. Harris' BeOn transforms an Android platform smartphone into a push-to-talk P25 radio handset.
Paul May, Harris' manager of systems marketing, says BeOn is like "Skype for public safety communications." Once the software is installed, the phone can be connected to the agency's land-mobile radio network. "We took all the functionality of a P25 standard radio, all of the functionality that we would build into the hardware, and incorporated it into BeOn.

May envisions BeOn as a way for administrators and brass to monitor the communications of their troops and stay in touch when they do not have access to a radio. It could also be a lifeline for an officer during those times when the radio is not working.

Here Come the Hybrids
BeOn and Alert & Respond are software marriages between public safety radios and smartphones. In the next few years we will also begin to see hybrid hardware that incorporates the best features of LMR systems and smartphones.

These devices will probably look something like today's P25 radio sets but with very different displays. "Public safety radio is a very conservative market," says Harris' May. "But as capabilities change over time so will the form factor. You can certainly envision a device that has a touch screen display, that's ruggedized, and has a long battery life."

Battery life would be an issue for smartphone-LMR hybrids on patrol. Few current smartphone models have batteries robust enough to last a 10-hour shift of constant use. In order to incorporate such batteries smartphone-LMR hybrids will likely be considerably thicker than commercial smartphones.

Shamik Mukherjee, director of global solutions for Motorola, says the hardware will not be the only difference between commercial smartphones and the next generation of police communication devices. "The user interface and user experience will be very different from a commercial smartphone," he says. "When an incident occurs or an alert is sent, that potentially life-saving information will have to be brought forward and made instantly accessible to the officer."

Motorola's corporate vice president and general manager of broadband solutions Darren McQueen believes the real revolution in police communications will come when handheld computer-communications devices replace the in-car computer. He envisions a dockable multi-mode device that will be attached to a display in the car and taken with the officer out of the car. fficer out of the car.

Such multi-mode devices may sound like science fiction, but they are coming. And probably sooner than later. Motorola representatives are very cagey about when these devices will hit the market, but Mukherjee would say, "We are in very rapid fashion working with our customers to develop these systems and the networks to operate them.

"It's a tremendously exciting time for the public safety communications industry. We are seeing a real transformation. Broadband and multi-mode devices are taking a foothold," Mukherjee adds.

Article taken in part from Police Mag.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Delaware State Police Announce Trooper of the Year

Each year the Delaware State Police Executive Staff selects one Trooper for the Trooper of the Year Award. Troopers nominated must be recognized by their peers as having outstanding character and integrity and whose actions or performance significantly exceeded expectations during the previous calendar year.

This year, eight Delaware State Troopers were nominated. The Executive Staff selected Corporal Troy Ralston as the 2011 Trooper of the Year.

Cpl. Ralston began his career with the Delaware State Police in September 2006 and through his strong work ethic has established a reputation as a dedicated Trooper excelling in both criminal and traffic enforcement. The efforts of Troopers like Cpl. Ralston make our communities and highway safer for everyone. Cpl. Ralston consistently among the Troop leaders in traffic and criminal enforcement activities, all the while, is taking on additional responsibilities such as serving as a field training officer and as a mentor in the Troop 7 Explorers program.

Equally as important as Cpl. Ralston’s performance and work ethic, is Cpl. Ralston’s strength of character. Cpl. Ralston represents the core values of Honor, Integrity, Courage, Loyalty, Attitude, Discipline and Service.

Two incidents that highlight and clearly demonstrate Cpl. Ralston’s dedication and commitment to the Core Values and to the citizens we serve.

Colonel Coupe and Cpl Ralston
On January, 11th, 2011, Cpl. Ralston was responding to Sussex County Court of Common Pleas on his day off for a trial. While en route to court, Cpl. Ralston heard SUSCOM dispatch other Trooper’s to a motor vehicle crash involving a vehicle on fire with a trapped occupant. Cpl. Ralston knew the crash was not far from his location and immediately redirected to the scene of the crash.  Cpl. Ralston was the first emergency responder to arrive on the scene and observed that a van and a tractor trailer had collided head-on, and both vehicles were on fire. Cpl. Ralston saw that the tractor trailer was unoccupied, but the operator of the van was still inside. Cpl. Ralston grabbed his fire extinguisher and ran to the van. The van operator was unconscious and his clothing was on fire. Cpl. Ralston quickly directed the fire extinguisher at the flames on the operator and did his best to suppress the fire from the engine compartment, but could not extinguish it completely. With the assistance of a citizen at the scene, they cut the operator’s seat belt and attempted to pull the operator from the van, but then realized the operator’s legs were trapped under the steering wheel. Despite the flames creeping back into the passenger compartment Cpl. Ralston and the citizen continued work feverishly to free the operator from the vehicle. Finally, they were able to pull the operator from the vehicle, but not before Cpl. Ralston had sustained second degree burns on his hand.  Cpl. Ralston immediately assessed the operator’s condition and began to administer CPR, until he had to move the victim again because the fire continued to grow, and there were several small explosions that erupted from the vehicles. Cpl. Ralston continued to perform CPR until Fire and EMS personnel arrived on the scene. The operator of the van was transported to the hospital where, unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries.

Cpl. Ralston’s efforts did not go unnoticed, and because of his willingness to put his own life in harm's way in an attempt to save the life of another, he was awarded the Division’s Valor Award.

Ten days later, on January 21, 2011, Cpl. Ralston responded to a call for a 75 year old male in cardiac arrest. Cpl. Ralston was the first emergency responder to arrive on the scene and upon his entry into the residence located the victim who was unconscious, without a pulse and not breathing. Cpl. Ralston utilized his AED to assess the victim and then together with the victim’s son took turns performing CPR on the victim until EMS arrived on the scene and took over. The victim was transported to the hospital and we are happy to say that he survived.

The men and women of the Delaware State Police are very proud of Cpl. Ralston and grateful for his dedicated service.