Setina Manufacturing Celebrates 50 Years

The original prisoner partition and a bright future.

Setina Manufacturing Celebrates 50 Years
By: Yesenia Salcedo

There is something to be said about family-owned businesses. Most businesses are born the same way. One day someone sees a need for a product, designs it and has it manufactured, and the rest is history. Many times a bigger company buys out that business, but in some special cases, the creator holds on to his “baby” and his family joins in his dream. Then the children take over the business and continue to grow the company while maintaining the quality of the product and upholding the integrity of the family name. Setina Manufacturing Company Inc. is one of those gems.

The Original Partition

Founded in 1963 by John R. Setina, this year Setina Manufacturing Company Inc. celebrates its 50 years in the industry. Mr. Setina applied for and was awarded his first patent in 1963. That was the first Police Vehicle Partition Patent of its type awarded by the U.S. Patent Office. Since that original patent, Setina has been awarded many other patents for law enforcement vehicle equipment.

Mr. Setina previously had 17 years experience as a vehicle repair specialist with the Washington State Patrol’s automotive division, and had previously owned his own body repair business, before the Washington State Patrol recruited him. While performing his duties in designing and building roll bars for the Washington State Patrol’s Cadet Drivers Training Program, Mr. Setina saw the need for officer protection while transporting prisoners, as well as the need to reinforce the police vehicle in the event of an accident.

With his extensive background in vehicle body repair and knowledge of vehicle structure, he designed the first Setina “Bodyguard” Police Vehicle Partition, for prisoner transport, which incorporated a roll bar-type framework with a plastic window. It was then that the dream for his company was born.

Fifty years later, the Olympia, Wash.-based Setina Manufacturing Company, Inc. still calls itself the original manufacturer of the patented law-enforcement vehicle partitions as we know them today. Their designs continue to set the industry standards. Setina offers many styles of law enforcement partitions, push bumpers and other vehicle equipment accessories designed for law enforcement vehicles and to fit individual department needs.

Today, Setina offers more than partitions. Over the years, it has added to its offerings other types of law-enforcement vehicle products such as push bumpers, as well as weapons mounting systems, transport seating, single-prisoner transport units, window barriers, door panels, trunk and cargo storage, and K-9 transport equipment.

Success Through Leadership
Judy Setina, Vice President of Setina Manufacturing, sites successful industry relationships as a significant factor in the company’s longevity. “Setina has very high standards in our distributor qualification, which has enabled us to attract and retain the top law-enforcement equipment companies,” Judy said. “It is very important to us to establish long-term distributor relationships, which are mutually beneficial to both ourselves and our distributors.”

She added that Setina has established many great, long-term relationships with other industry manufacturers, who have been very supportive of the company through its 50 years in business.

“Setina has always been successful because it maintains its focus and commitment to providing value-added services to our customers by creating a successful partnership with them through our uncompromising adherence to the highest standards. Our pledge is to establish lasting relationships with our customers by exceeding their expectations and gaining their trust through exceptional performance by every member of our team.”

Her leadership, along with that of her brother, Terry Setina, President of the company, has continued to move the company forward since the retirement of their father in the late-1980s. Although retired, John Setina continued his presence and wisdom until his passing in 2006. Through their more than 35 years with the company, each, they have worked together helping to build the company and develop new, quality products for law enforcement vehicles.

Terry Setina, as President, has executive production responsibilities and oversees the entire manufacturing process to ensure only the highest quality products are produced. In addition to production, Terry oversees Setina Manufacturing’s design department and constant product research and development and continues to get patents for Setina’s products.

Judy, as Vice President, has executive administrative responsibilities and oversees the sales, marketing and accounting departments for the company. Judy’s son, Brett Ware, is also part of the family business, serving as National Sales Manager for the company.

Judy said market positioning also is very important to the company, and the family sees the company as the leader in the industry for law-enforcement vehicle partitions and push bumpers. “We feel that even with strong competition, we have a substantial portion of the market share. Our original designs have set the standards that other manufacturers have tried to follow. Setina has an unmatched reputation for quality, dependability and reliable delivery, which has enabled us to establish strong, long-term relationships with our customers.”

Setina also attributed the company’s success to strong product development. “Product development is a very high priority to our company. We realize that to continue our marketing and production edge, we must continue to be rapidly active in designing new products and improve, if possible, our current products. Setina has exceptional product and market knowledge and excellent design and manufacturing capabilities.”

With a highly competitive market place and shrinking law enforcement budgets, Setina Manufacturing has been able to increase its market share by continually upgrading and improving its manufacturing process, and the Setina products have become very well known in the last 50 years.

Technology Forward
Setina Manufacturing knows the importance of using the latest in computer-assisted design technology in its product development and manufacturing process. Setina Manufacturing’s network infrastructure rivals those of larger companies. “We have state-of-the-art multiple rack-mounted servers, and our high-speed, gigabit and fiber-optic network infrastructure allows our employees to work effectively and efficiently.”

Setina also uses the latest in Autodesk CAD Technology—the Autodesk Inventor. Autodesk Inventor is a 3D parametric modeling system that allows Setina’s designers to design separate parts and then assemble them into virtual models. This software also has the ability to import 3D models from other software packages like (CATIA) used by the automakers and import them into Autodesk Inventor. Once converted, the designers are able to use those models to design Setina’s products.

Setina’s manufacturing facility is as important to the company as the software it uses. Setina Manufacturing Company has a modern, state-of-the-art, advanced method of performance manufacturing facility. “We perform nearly all the manufacturing processes at our facility, from receiving the raw materials to the finished product,” Judy said. “This allows us to maintain complete control over the quality and cost of our materials and labor. We are proud that all our products are made in the USA.”

The company’s output is so efficient, that in addition to its regular production, the company can flex production for the high volume output as necessary. Also, Setina Manufacturing has a state-of-the-art metal preparation and powder coating system, and uses high-tech computerized CNC machinery, to aid the speed and efficiency in their production process.

Quality control is very important at Setina Manufacturing Company. During the production process, each product is visually inspected and then tested. Each stage of the production process is closely monitored by the department supervisors to ensure the highest quality of each part.

Setina’s Products
Throughout its 50 years in business, Setina has kept true to its flagship product—prisoner partitions. The company continually updates and improves this product line.

The Setina Model 10-XL “Xtra-Legroom” partition is one example of its new partitions line.  The original design provides maximum officer and rear passenger legroom. Setina’s unique suspended mounting system anchors to the vehicle’s B-pillars, eliminating partition floor mounting brackets with no foot obstructions in the vehicle foot well area. The modified steel framework provides strength with no leg obstructions for maximum entry and exit space through the passenger side rear door. 

The horizontal sliding window partition is airbag compatible. It’s made of a three-piece coated resistant polycarbonate or clear uncoated polycarbonate window with a self-locking horizontal sliding center section. It also features: rubber-covered, spring-loaded locking assembly, rubber-padded vertical window support bars, steel seat-back protector panel, rugged zinc-free powder coat finish, and it comes with a recessed storage panel for weapon mounts. Setina also offers a large selection of other partition styles for sedans, trucks, vans and SUVs.

While partitions may be how Setina Manufacturing got its start, it has since developed a full product line of other police-vehicle safety and protection products. One of the other well-known Setina product offerings is its push bumper series. Careful consideration and thoughtful design has been given to every aspect of push bumper performance.

Setina Manufacturing Company uses high-strength, aircraft-grade aluminum as the standard construction of its push bumpers. High-strength aluminum is 40 percent lighter than steel, for optimum fuel economy and weight distribution. This lighter weight aluminum reduces front end fatigue and satisfies the automakers’ concern on front-end weight limitations. However, the company also offers steel models. Setina push bumpers also feature integrated LED warning light systems, which are the latest technology in push bumper design.

Setina’s PB-450-L series push bumpers feature LED lighting technology. It has integrated front LED warning lights that are recessed into the push bumper to protect the lights. It also features optional side-mounted lights for maximum intersection visibility. The PB450-L is completely factory pre-assembled and wired for quick and easy installation. Wiring is protected within the push bumper assembly.

Also new to the Setina product line is its New Prisoner Transport Seating Systems, which are the next generation of prisoner transport seats. The new advanced design, TPO seating systems are easily installed, with a “precision fit” right over the vehicle’s existing seat. Unlike other models, there is no longer the expensive need to remove and store the factory seat.

Advanced “TPO” or Thermoplastic PolyOlefin, is the highest automotive-grade polymer (plastic) used as “the standard” by the auto industry. TPO is shatter, flame and chemical resistant and exceeds NHSTA regulations. TPO is far superior to ABS plastics. Setina’s new TPO Transport Seat and TPO Door Guards give the vehicle an OEM appearance.

Setina weapon mounting systems are designed to provide quick, easy access to firearms and the flexibility to accommodate multiple firearms and lock-heads. The modular “T-Rail” technology allows the Weapons Systems to be easily converted from Partition Mount to a Stand Alone mount by simply adding a base. 

“T-Rail” technology also provides maximum adjustability for multiple weapons and flexibility to accommodate multiple gunlock heads. The “T-Rail” weapon mounting systems are available in Double Mount or Single Mount models, with the options of Small, Large, Universal or Blac-Rac configurations.

It is this commitment to safety and a long history of quality products that has lead to Setina’s great customer relationships and success in the industry. With the continued hard work of the family behind the company, Setina Manufacturing will live on for another 50 years, and perhaps even longer.

Yesenia Salcedo is technical editor for LAW and ORDER, Tactical Response and Police Fleet Manager Magazines. She may be reached at

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Jul/Aug 2013

Rating : 4.0



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