Vendor Expo highlights innovation, education
The 2016 International Law Enforcement Educator and Trainers Association’s annual event landed in a new home this year near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
Judging by the crowded expo hall, attendees were eager to check out new technology and equipment innovations and educational opportunities on display during the two days at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont.
Here’s a sampling of some of the best gadgets, gear and other goodies featured during the ILEETA expo March 14-15:
Tactical Walls (tacticalwalls.com)
Tactical Walls debuted its line of furniture that doubles as quick-access concealable weapons storage about three years ago with a mirror and has grown its offerings to include a variety of cabinets, clocks, lamps and even a TV stand.
Appearing at its first ILEETA expo, the company emphasized the convenience and safety its product offers for having a weapon nearby without having to carry it around all the time, according to Tactical Walls’ Matt Custer. The pieces can be customized with different woods and stains, lock magnetically and, can hold weapons ranging in size from handguns to rifles.
Comfort and safety are the key features of Legacy’s new armored compression shirt that was featured prominently at the company’s ILEETA booth. The shirt offers ballistic and stab protection with a Level IIIA panel, while eliminating Velcro straps.
“It’s very, very lightweight,” Legacy Owner Jeremy Dewberry said. “It’s great for undercover … EMS is a big seller for us.”
Legacy also highlighted its ballistic shoulder protection sets and ballistic face mask.
“Everything we have is very different than other armor companies,” Dewberry said.
Crown Gym Mats (crowngymmats.com)
Crown Gym Mats might have had the most unique display on the expo floor. Attendees needed to look no further than the foam washer and dryer, or the foam police boat in the lobby, to understand why.
The Barrington-based family business has supplied athletic mats to schools for decades, but jumped into working with law enforcement after learning some organizations were using second-hand furniture or cardboard in their training exercises, according to owners Jon and Judy Eckert.
“Why don’t we come up with a line of foam furniture?” Jon recalled thinking.
Following a “Safety in Training” motto, Crown’s NOTTA line of furniture creates realistic and custom environments for police tactical work. They also offer training props that replicate weapons.
Lund Industries (lund-industries.com)
Lund Industries, located in Northbrook, displayed its latest storage products – a range bag vault and pistol box. The vault is capable of holding a standard size range bag, backpack or similar-type bags. It features a programmable lock and can be anchored into a vehicle’s trunk.
The pistol box is designed for convenience and has a broad appeal as those with a concealed carry license can easily store their firearm at locations where they cannot have it with them. The pistol box mounts in the rear passenger’s foot well.
Lund’s Michael Malec said the new products are durable and versatile.
Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates (w-z.com)
In the education category, Robert Brislan of Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates focused on the company’s flagship training courses offering non-confrontational interview techniques.
“It’s a more conversational approach. It treats your subject more like a peer,” Brislan said.
He added that there is demand for less accusatory interview styles, which is increasingly important as more interviews are recorded. The non-confrontational techniques are viewed as more jury friendly and easily adaptable by police officers of all experience levels.
“It’s all about the search for the truth,” Brislan added.
DS Arms (dsarms.com)
Showcasing its renowned DSA ZM-4 Patrol Carbine rifle and the new HKVP9 pistol, Lake Barrington firearms manufacturer DS Arms used the show as an opportunity for as many operators as possible to test weapons on display.
DS Arms made its products available to fire in the Tri County Tactical Mobile Shooting range set up in one of the Hyatt parking lots. Many of the attendees who came to ILEETA for training were able to try out the HKVP9 as a possible duty weapon. The Chicago Police Department recently approved its use for all officers as it has previously with the ZM-4 rifle.
“HK is a world-class firearm manufacturer, so it was a great opportunity to learn about it,” noted Lou Selvaggio, a sales and marketing consultant for DS Arms. “The whole expo was a great way for operators to demo weapons.”
TKK Electronics (tkkelectronics.com)
In a room full of tactical training-related products and services, TKK Electronics served up some of the latest and greatest technology innovations.
Officers and agencies were especially interested in the GETAC body-worn cameras and drones on display at the TKK exhibit. The drones drew persistent questioning about FAA regulations regarding use and the grant program available to agencies looking to deploy the devices.
“A lot of people wanted be educated about why they need this and what you can do with it,” explained TKK Senior Account Executive Stacey Naumczik.
Another technology solution of interest from TKK, which represents many rugged equipment lines, was the Cradlepoint Modem that can be set up in a command vehicle and provide Wi-Fi to several laptops in what could become an on-site command center.
“It was a great opportunity for us to build relationships with departments,” Naumczik added. “A lot of them have never heard of us, so we have a great chance to show what we offer.”