"From tactical vehicles to evidence collection cabinets."
In addition to other areas of law enforcement products, Sirchie® fabricates and assembles vehicles for a broad range of applications that include evidence collection, mobile command, SWAT, bomb rescue, prisoner transport, arson investigation, campus police and undercover surveillance.
Sirchie’s Vehicle Division, housed in a 22,000-square-foot-facility in Medford, N.J., has full sheet metal, welding, woodworking, upholstery, electronics, and fabrication shops that produce 95 percent of all items installed in their vehicles. This in-house concept of production allows Sirchie to produce vehicles that meet the unique requirements of each agency, and to provide products of the highest quality.
The company offers custom fabricated cabinetry built to specification, custom floor plan designs at no extra charge, ongoing available upgrades and refurbishing programs, and lifetime technical phone support. The Vehicle Division also designs, develops, manufactures, and sells an array of surveillance items used for mobile applications, and recently has started marketing technology upgrade kits for its installed base of surveillance vehicles.
Customizing a Tactical Vehicle
According to Tony Saggiomo, Vice President and CEO of Sirchie’s Vehicle Division, customizing a vehicle to meet the end user’s needs requires open discussion to determine what the agency sees as the primary role for the vehicle. What specialized features will be required for the special operations of this mission? What are the budgetary and time constraints for the project?
In the case of a tactical vehicle, it is important to discuss how many team members will operate out of the vehicle and what equipment needs to be stored on-board. This information helps to determine whether a van, cutaway box or larger forward-control style body is the best choice. It also allows for selection of the appropriate chassis weight capacity or gross vehicle weight rating (GWVR) and the climate control capacity.
“Usually at the same time consideration is given to what chassis should be utilized, the debate over gasoline or diesel engine begins. As you can imagine, 10 team members in body armor with weapons and ammo can be quite heavy and keeping them comfortable in 100-degree heat can be a daunting task,” Saggiomo said. “Diesel is usually required for fire apparatus type vehicles, but gasoline is often adequate for this type of mission if the engine is large enough and puts out enough horsepower. Typically budget constraints come into play here because diesel engines are significantly more costly.”
Another important factor to consider when outfitting a tactical vehicle is weapons security. Due to the many different forms of weapons locks on the market, and the fact that a weapon is typically customized with specialty sights and lighting, there are no cookie cutter answers. To address this, Sirchie offers options that range from large cabinets with electronic combination locks to lockable open racks.
Other factors to consider are command / radio areas, department-supplied breaching equipment, and emergency lighting to match the department’s fleet, yet on these vehicles must be concealed if possible. Sirchie also installs custom-manufactured ram style bumpers with integrated winches to open doors when forcible entry is required.
Special operations features that can be installed are covert camera systems for maximum situational awareness and IP-based video technology that allows team members and commanding officers to monitor video camera feed in real time. Optionally available are Sirchie evidence lockers in which seized items can be secured in the locker along with the key for evidence integrity. This keeps the items secured during transit until they are turned over to the evidence custodian, establishing proper chain of custody.
Other features vital to ensuring team safety and security include simple but rugged modification to the vehicle, such as easy exit steps for rapid and safe deployment. In addition, many vehicles are fitted with side-mounted heavy-duty running boards and grab rails, allowing team members to use the vehicle as a shield while approaching a target area and then rapidly deploy upon arrival. As Saggiomo pointed out, “when serving high-risk arrest warrants, the element of surprise is of the utmost importance.”
Rapid Deployment Vehicles
Designed for rapid deployment, Sirchie’s Raid and SWAT vehicles are equipped with the unique features required by law enforcement to effectively bring mission critical situations to a successful conclusion. The SOV350 is a four-wheel-drive high-risk warrant, narcotics raid or jump vehicle, and features a one-ton chassis that provides the payload needed to carry a tactical team as well as their heavy duty gear.
Interior features include a comfortable but durable diamond-plated-finish bench seat with storage below, heavy-duty, no-slip industrial rubberized flooring, dark tinted windows with removable black-out pads, and tactical red / white lighting. Exterior features of the SOV350 include heavy-duty running boards and removable step, Class IV trailer hitch, and custom front bumper with winch. Also included are discreet emergency lighting, grille, and marker lamps, and mounted stainless-steel hand rails on the roof.
The SOV900SP is a Mercedes Sprinter-based raid van that contains all of the same interior features of the SOV350, as well as the same available options. This vehicle features a spacious interior that accommodates additional personnel and full stand-up headroom, yet still maneuvers like a standard van. Options unique to the SOV900SP are an on-board 3,200-watt diesel generator and a roof-mounted 120VAC air conditioner.
With a spacious and comfortable climate-controlled interior, the SOV900U is the ideal vehicle for the transportation of tactical squads. Featuring heavy-duty suspension and payload, its aerodynamic design and narrow body allow increased maneuverability in mission critical scenarios. Adequate secured seating is provided, with bench seats doubling as storage compartments that are accessible via removable seat tops. 63-inch rear door clearance, rear-mounted heavy-duty step bumper, and rubberized non-slip flooring provide safe and rapid officer deployment. The SOV900U is also equipped with exterior access storage for tactical gear.
Sirchie’s SWAT9000FL is a high-visibility Freightliner forward control model for transporting SWAT or Incident Response Teams. Team seating and interior weapon and tactical gear storage are custom designed around personnel and equipment. Available in floor plans ranging from 16 feet to 24 feet plus working area, these vehicles can also be equipped as secondary command posts.
This vehicle features a climate-controlled interior with roof-mount air conditioning and baseboard electric heat, and an on-board generator that is fueled directly from the vehicle fuel tank. The SWAT9000FL is equipped with durable FRP panel walls and ceiling, industrial rubberized non-slip flooring, and operations desk with office chair. Individual lockers and overhead cabinets allow storage of smaller items, with additional bulk storage available under the bench seats.
Evidence-Collection Cabinet Packages
Sirchie develops vehicle cabinet and equipment packages for agencies that want to outfit their existing SUVs or full-size cargo vans. The Evidence Collection Module was designed for use in the most popular SUVs, including the police package and Special Service Vehicle package vehicles offered by Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford. These units are easily installed in department-owned vehicles and come with a complete assortment of field kits.
With three evidence storage compartments for maximum evidence security, the modules are equipped with Medeco® high security and virtually pick-proof locks, with patented key control to prevent unauthorized duplication of keys. The locking key is slipped through the slot and can only be removed by the property custodian who retains the master key. The Evidence Collection Modules (ECM100) can be purchased with kits (priced at $6,225) or without kits (priced at $3,995). Four optional kits are available for purchase: Rechargeable Evidence Vacuum Kit, MegaMaxx Alternate Light Source Kit, Cyanowand Cyanoacrylate Fuming Kit, and Master Blood Test Kits.
Sirchie’s Van-Based Shelving Package provides an easy-to-install, do-it-yourself shelving set that can be purchased with or without a full complement of evidence collection kits. Lightweight, adjustable molded shelving holds evidence collection kits and existing department equipment. Shelves are impact-resistant and rust-proof and can hold up 250 lbs. Also provided is a Formica report writing desk with a portable stool. The VBS100 includes the evidence collection kits and is priced at $6,750. The VBS100 without the kits is priced at $3,110.
As Saggiomo pointed out, “The scope of Sirchie’s offering includes more than 2,000 forensic science and criminal investigation products, customized special-purpose police vehicles, and hands-on training available globally. We have dedicated training facilities onsite in Youngsville and our trainers travel around the world to provide training through host agencies and departments.”
The quality and reliability of Sirchie products combined with exceptional customer service and technical support is what sets the company apart from its competitors. “We listen to and engage our markets to create the right solution to meet their needs. When you call Sirchie, you get a person on the other end who you can work with and rely on to find the right solution to meet your needs,” Saggiomo stated.
Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, Fla. She can be reached at email@example.com.