2013 in Review: Tech gifts for your police officer friends

Here are a baker’s dozen of options to buy for your cop buddies — or to leave as suggestions for someone to buy for you!

Each year around this time, I post a list of Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Yule/Whatever gift suggestions for your favorite gadget-obsessed policeperson. Feel free to print out a copy and leave it for whoever might be persuaded to get one of these for you.

1.) Tuff Kuffs: As I am no longer in a position to field-test tactical police products, I can’t speak to whether these are a good idea or not — but they sound awesome. They’re based on the standard handcuff design, but have keyholes on both sides of the mechanism, a larger opening, more teeth on the ratchet to accommodate smaller wrists, and a one-way ratchet on the link that connects the two cuffs. The ratchet allows the prisoner’s arms to be positioned horizontally behind their back, but won’t slip back to the more relaxed position. This makes it all but impossible for a prisoner to slip the cuffs under their feet.

2.) Z.E.R.O. (Zombie Extermination, Research and Operations) Kit: A tactical watch, heavy gloves, thermal and night vision scopes, some weapon-mounted lights and gunsights, knives, rifle cases, and a bunch of other cool stuff, all yours for only $23,999. Splurge for another $99, and they’ll throw in a radar gun.

Three iPhone cases for your consideration — just don’t try to take any of these on an airplane:
3.) The Knucklecase incorporates “brass knuckles” (actually aluminum) into your phone case. Possession of these may be a felony in your state, but the look on the face of the next person who tries to pinch your phone might be worth the risk. 
4.) Only slightly less likely to be a crime to possess, the Yellow Jacket combines a phone case with a stun gun. Bonus: the stun gun battery extends the battery life of your phone. 
5.) Lowest of these on the use of force continuum, the Smartguard iPhone case includes a detachable pepper spray canister.

6.) The ToughHook is a heavy-duty clothes hanger for your body armor or other heavy gear. One of these will help keep stuff from accumulating in the bottom of your locker. 

7.) Probably not yet approved for duty use, but if you’re a motorcycle rider off-duty, the Skully HUD Helmet connects to your phone via Bluetooth and has a camera mounted on the back. The image from the camera is projected on the faceplate of the helmet to give the rider a 360° view. 

8.) TiVo’s latest model is called the Roamio, and it’s their best yet. You can record up to four programs simultaneously (while watching a fifth already-recorded program), and the Plus and Pro models will stream their recorded programs to mobile devices. If you like to watch anything on TV, the TiVo interface makes it easy to keep up with program schedules, even if they change suddenly. Caveat: They don’t work with most satellite setups.

9.) Although it still depends which review you want to believe, but there is strong evidence for the Fitbit Force to be the winner in the personal fitness tracking gadget wars. The device functions as a watch that also tracks your activity and sleep patterns and syncs everything with your computer or smartphone. If you’re trying to meet a fitness goal, it can provide constant reinforcement and updates of your progress. It will also work as a silent alarm that will wake you and not your partner. 

10.) Something from the TULS (pronounced “tools,” get it?) line would make a practical stocking stuffer. TULS are flat, credit-card-size gadgets that double as earbud cord managers, smartphone stands, wrenches and screwdrivers, measuring devices, and so on. The designs are ingenious and the prices manageable. 

11.) If you want to be ready for anything while working at the grill, check out the Tactical Chef Apron from ThinkGeek. Five pouches, front and back Velcro ID path, and MOLLE attachment points for any conceivable hostile encounter. While you’re there, pick up an Annoy-a-tron, because you never know when you’re going to run across someone you need to torment in a special way. 

12.) Just a big larger than a pen is the ASP Scribe Light. This is a great light for off-duty carry, for working plainclothes, or as a spare to your regular duty light. It uses AAA batteries. 

13.) If you carry a long gun in your car, you’ve probably gotten tangled up in the sling at one time or another. The Sling Band-It uses Velcro to keep the sling taut and out of your way until you need it. For $6.95, you can’t go too far wrong. 

However you plan to celebrate the holidays, be safe, be careful, and be sure to come back here next year. Merry Christmas.

About the author

Tim Dees is a writer, editor, trainer, and former law enforcement officer. After 15 years as a police officer with the Reno Police Department and elsewhere in Northern Nevada, Tim taught criminal justice as a full-time professor and instructor at colleges in Wisconsin, West Virginia, Georgia, and Oregon.

He was also a regional training coordinator for the Oregon Dept. of Public Safety Standards & Training, providing in-service training to 65 criminal justice agencies in central and eastern Oregon.

Tim has written more than 300 articles for nearly every national law enforcement publication in the United States, and is the author of The Truth About Cops, published by Hyperink Press. In 2005, Tim became the first editor-in-chief for Officer.com, moving to the same position for LawOfficer.com at the beginning of 2008. He now writes on applications of technology in law enforcement from his home in SE Washington state.

Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in biological science from San José State University, a master’s degree in criminal justice from The University of Alabama, and the Certified Protection Professional credential from ASIS International. He serves on the executive board of the Public Safety Writers Association.

Dees can be reached at tim.dees@policeone.com.

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