Vehicle storage and prisoner transport built for pickup-driving cops
Setina’s new prisoner transport and cargo management system combination offers an aftermarket storage solution without the need for modifications to the vehicle
Sponsored by Setina
By Warren Wilson for PoliceOne BrandFocus
We are seeing a trend in law enforcement toward patrol vehicles with higher road clearance like SUV’s and pickups. Many agencies - especially those with rural patrol areas – prefer the off-road capabilities of these vehicles. The higher ground clearance and in some cases, four-wheel-drive capability, can be the difference between getting to an emergency call or not. A pickup bed is a better option than a standard vehicle trunk for the types of evidence collected by rural officers; e.g., farm implements, poached game, clandestine lab materials, etc. Ford offers their F-150 pickup in their Police Responder package for agencies who face these unique challenges.
Of course, everything has a downside. With patrol vehicles like Ford’s F-150, the problem is with prisoner transportation and emergency equipment storage. The front seat is an option for transportation in a pickup, but not a good one. I’ve witnessed a handcuffed arrestee break out a vehicle window and escape during a transport. I’ve been on a manhunt for an arrestee who stole a patrol vehicle from another agency after being properly handcuffed and placed in the front seat. The only safe way to transport a prisoner is in the passenger side back seat of the patrol vehicle with a barrier between the officer and the arrestee and a window cage between the arrestee and escape.
For storage, the only products offered in the past have been those which are mounted to the bed of the pickup. That leaves emergency equipment exposed to the elements. Products like Tonneau covers and rolling drawers do offer a modicum of security, but very little protection from extreme temperatures and moisture. In my experience, keeping long guns, optics, extra cuffs, etc. in the bed of a vehicle results in damaged equipment via exposure to the elements no matter the storage system. The only way to keep emergency equipment both secure and serviceable is to store it in the vehicle’s cab. That generally results in an either/or decision for the back seat of the pickup. Do we choose storage or prisoner transport? Until recently, there hasn’t been a good, ready-to-use solution to this problem that didn’t require aftermarket customization.
Build on tradition for today’s needs
Setina Manufacturing Company has been in the business of enhancing patrol vehicle safety since 1963. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Setina has what appears to be a perfect storage/prisoner transport solution for the pickup-driving cop. The new Prisoner Transport & Cargo Management System Combination for Crew Cab Trucks is a first of its breed product that allows for ample storage without compromising the ability to transport a prisoner safely.
For storage, the Prisoner Transport & Cargo Management System Combination has two shelves and a locking drawer. The shelves are large enough for all of those items which would normally be stored in the trunk of the cruiser such as hard armor, helmets, search lights, etc. The slide-out locking drawer is perfect for long guns. Setina includes an electronics hatch with this product. This provision allows for the mounting of DVRs and other electronic equipment like siren controllers which would normally be stored in the trunk of a more traditional patrol vehicle.
The best part of the storage side of this product is the location – the driver’s side. This might seem like a small detail, but it was thoroughly considered. Though vehicles are not great cover, they are our first option for ballistic protection when reaching a scene where gunfire may be encountered. If important stuff one might need for such an occasion such as hard ballistic plates and long guns are in the bed of the patrol vehicle, an officer must be exposed to two different sides of the vehicle to gain access to them; the driver’s side and the rear. That’s not a good use of cover. With this system, an officer can park their patrol vehicle in such a way as to keep steel between them and the problem and not have to break cover to retrieve what might be life-saving emergency equipment.
Prisoner Transport that’s safe for the officer, safe for the prisoner
Since the gear is now safely stowed on the driver’s side of the rear seat, you may have guessed the passenger side of the Prisoner Transport & Cargo Management System is equipped for prisoner transport. That is also a well-considered location. Cops should and do load prisoners into the passenger side to avoid the hazard of passing vehicles. Of course, the transport side of the vehicle is well-secured from the aforementioned emergency equipment. The transport seat is divided from the storage side with a solid clear barrier so as not to block visual contact with the transported party. This product system comes with a replacement-style seat. This specially-designed seat allows for much larger arrestees than the standard seat would allow and also comes with a surface material which will not readily absorb blood and other fluids like a stock seat.
An optional accessory to the Prisoner Transport & Cargo Management System Combination to be considered is the Smart Belt. The Smart Belt is a center-pull seat belt system. If you’re not familiar this product, it is a seat belt system which is fastened from the right side of the passenger seat. The Smart Belt’s latch plate attaches to the security partition on the passenger side of the vehicle. The latch is mounted on the right side the passenger seat. To fasten the seat belt, the officer simply releases the latch plate from the partition and pulls it directly into the latch without needing to reach across the prisoner. That negates the possibility of a combative arrestee biting, headbutting or spitting on their arrester while the officer is securing them. As a bonus, once the Smart Belt latch plate is fastened into the lock plate, the belt’s retractor locks as well. That ensures the prisoner is safe and secure.
Setina’s Prisoner Transport & Cargo Management System Combination is the first of its breed. It is a ready-fit that provides a storage solution without compromising the ability to transport. It will be available for the Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram pickups as well very soon. Finally, rural cops can have their equipment and transport, too.
About the author
Warren Wilson is a lieutenant with the Enid Police Department in Oklahoma. He is a former SWAT team leader, current firearms instructor and writer. He has been a full-time law enforcement officer since 1996.