Hendon Media Group organizes two Police Fleet Expos (PFE) each year. The one in May is generally in the West or Southwest. The one in August is generally in the East or Midwest. The PFE is a great opportunity to interact with police fleet professionals and view the newest and best emergency vehicle products and solutions. The ninth annual Police Fleet Expo took place in Charlotte, N.C. Once again, the exhibit hall featured some impressive new products from a number of manufacturers.
As I toured the floor, I was pleased to note that manufacturers have responded to the challenges presented by a new generation of police vehicles. Particularly, products had been re-envisioned to have smaller footprints and better leverage the space available in the newer, more compact vehicles. Vehicle-specific designs, multi-function lighting products, and clever mounting and storage solutions seemed to be a common focus.
The PFE had almost 100 booths, each with real solution for fleet management or fleet maintenance. In an overview article, we can’t cover all of the great new products. Here is just a glimpse of some of the products that really impressed me.
Code 3® PSE
Code3’s product line seemed to have doubled in size from last year’s show. One of the standouts was their new Twist Lock Hide-a-Blast™ LED inserts designed specifically for Ford’s new Police Interceptor Sedan and Utility. Installing traditional hide-a-way LED or strobe inserts in the headlight assemblies of the new Ford vehicles is a no-go.
Ford does offer optional (13P/18P ordering codes) pre-drilled holes for upfitter use but until now, no commercially available product was designed to fit them. Code3 has filled that void with their rugged, powerful, and simple to install offering. Features include 20 flash patterns and color choices of red, white, or blue.
The Code 3 Citadel™ Rear Warning Light is a rear warning solution for the Ford PI Utility, Chevy Tahoe PPV and Dodge Durango SSV. It provides a lightbar-like performance and mounts to the factory spoiler without an installer having to drill additional holes. This location places the light higher for better visibility and protection from road grime.
SUV rear warning is typically placed inside the rear glass, where tinted windows and UV treatments can drastically reduce light output, as well as produce driver-distracting flashback. Code 3’s Citadel avoids these pitfalls and outputs intense warning in single or multi-color combinations of red, blue, white, amber or green.
FedSig now offers multi-color output with its IMPAXX® SpectraLux™ LED multi-color light heads. The new IPX6 units are weather-proofed for exterior or interior mounting and can be ordered with up to three colors per light head, thanks to Federal Signal’s SpectraLux technology. Fluted lenses and internal Solaris® reflectors combine for a wide-angle warning signal and IPX6 lights can be ordered with lenses optimized for vertical or horizontal mounting.
The light functions in flashing or steady-on modes for warning or scene lighting. You get 25 flash patterns and SAE J595 CCR Title 13 compliance. While there are competing products, the IMPAXX series is noteworthy because over 22 different mounting solutions are offered.
A new addition to FedSig’s product line is their PA300-CN Electronic Siren & Lighting Controller. The PA300-CN (Convergence Network) offers a bomb-proof siren with familiar PA300 tones, remote-mounting, easy installation, plug-n-play integration with Federal Signal’s lightbars, and the same control head as Federal’s top-of-the-line SmartSiren® Platinum.
A relay module lets installers integrate other equipment into the Convergence Network, providing switching outputs for lights and accessories. The PA300CN features include horn ring, PA with noise-cancelling microphone, radio rebroadcast, and 100/200-watt output. Simplify and integrate your warning system with this space-saving solution. If that sounds great, you’ll really like the PA300-CN’s affordable pricing.
Innovative Products, Inc.
Designed and marketed by a Tennessee police officer, the Magnetic Mic helps officers focus on driving instead of on their radio or PA microphone. This product works because it’s simple and eliminates one of the bigger installation hassles…where to put the mic hanger clips. The proliferation of laptops and other warning or communications equipment in today’s smaller police vehicles can make finding a mounting location tough.
Magnetic Mic allows for eyes-free microphone hanging and straight-in docking. The powerful magnets naturally attract each other; simply get close and the magnets do the rest. Installation is quick and requires no permanent modifications to the host microphone.
Jotto Desk’s Space Creator Partitions is a clever solution for balancing driver legroom with prisoner transport space. The Space Creator partitions take the typically unused space behind the front passenger seat and use it to increase seating and leg room for the passenger-side rear seat.
Bi-directional recess housing provides a large space behind the center console for mounting gun racks or other equipment, all while maintaining full driver-seat leg extension. Several window configurations are available, including a unique high-security/high-visibility (HS/HV) option. Jotto’s patent-pending Space Creator is available for the Charger, Impala, Caprice, Tahoe, and Police Interceptor Sedan and Utility.
Modular Trunk Tray Weapons System (MTTWS) is a new addition this year from Setina. Think trunk shelf on steroids…and armed. Although constructed of lightweight, powder-coated aluminum, the tray can support a 300-pound load and slides on heavy-duty Accuride ball bearing rails. There is sufficient room to mount all your electronics and an integrated gun rack system with several options, including Setina’s excellent Blac-Rac. The MTTWS offers vehicle-specific, no-holes mounting for a proper fit and easy installation.
SoundOff’s powerful, compact nForce® LED light heads use SoundOff’s new Nexus Technology™ and an aesthetic design. Customers are offered a number of options, including 6, 9, 12, and 18-LED variants in single, dual, or tri-color light output. Not only can you have multi-color warning from one light head, the light head can also serve as a steady-burn takedown light. Choose from surface, recess, deck/grille, or dash/visor configurations with specialized brackets to fit most applications.
SoundOff Signal now offers the Magnum™ LED lightbar for customers preferring a low-profile bar with a traditional clear dome appearance. The Magnum lightbar can be configured for any budget or fleet specification, and sizes from 23 inches to 73 inches allow it to fit anything on four (or more) wheels. Light output is enhanced and spread by SoundOff’s proprietary Fusion Boost and TurboOptic lenses. LED takedown and alley lights are standard, as is a rear arrow feature, which is available in split or solid colors.
Stalker® PATROL Radar
It took awhile, but traffic enforcement radars are finally starting to slim down. Stalker’s new PATROL is their simplest, most compact, full-featured radar. It’s also innovative, with a newly designed K-Band antenna that is waterproof and uses USB connections. The display/counting unit is one piece and smaller than the more familiar Dual series units.
A terrific feature is Stalker’s CAN/VSS cable, which plugs into the host vehicle’s OBD II diagnostic port to power the radar and provide synchronization with the vehicle’s speedometer signal. With plug-n-play simplicity and a compact footprint, installing the Stalker PATROL couldn’t be easier. And it’s priced very competitively.
My vote for the coolest thing at the show goes to Whelen’s new variation on the PAR-46 Super-LED® Combination Spot/Warning light. They have taken their hugely successful PAR-46 LED replacement lamp for Unity post-mount spotlights and added a warning feature. No more boring old spotlight, this one flashes in single or dual-color (DUO™) modes, with a number of patterns to choose from. Whelen’s PAR46 replacement light head is easy to install and easy to use; no extra wiring and the standard spotlight-switch toggles modes.
Whelen Pedestal Mounting kits for Super-LED lights might seem like an unusual “best” pick, but as an installer I have frequently wished for better mounting options for LED light heads. The ubiquitous “L” or 90-degree bracket has long served as a simple solution but never quite offered a clean, finished look. Worse, it provides no range of adjustment. Whelen now offers pedestal mounts for their popular ION™ and M2 Series Super-LED surface-mount light heads. These “why didn’t I think of that” kits provide for a clean look, protect the light’s wire entry-point, and allow for angular adjustments.
Make no mistake! These are just my “technical editor” picks. Every major company that makes emergency lights and sirens, push bumpers, prisoner partitions, center consoles, computer mounts, gun racks, police brakes, police tires, radar/lidar, in-car cameras, vehicle graphics, battery saving devices, fleet management software was at the PFE. Not to mention companies that offer upfitting and custom installations.
Truth be told, there were a lot more great products and clever solutions in the Charlotte exhibit hall. I strongly encourage you to come to 2013’s Police Fleet Expo and find your own top picks. You’ll enjoy the experience and make some great new friends!
Matthew Ayers is a Captain with the Sevierville, Tenn. Police Department and the owner of Command & Control Installations. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or C2installs@gmail.com.