Highlights from Police Fleet Expo 2023 

Current Issue PFPPolice Fleet Professional Magazine
PFE 2023 highlights

Another successful Police Fleet Expo (PFE) is now in the record books! In August 2023, the only Expo that brings together the largest group of police fleet professionals with vehicle and equipment manufacturers and suppliers hosted a memorable four-day event in New Orleans, LA, which included a track day (DriveX), fleet management training sessions, and a crowded trade show floor.

Attendance was up significantly, reaching near-record levels (the third highest gathering of police fleet professionals in 19 years). DriveX, the popular ride-and-drive exercise (sponsored by GM Envolve, Ford Pro, and Dodge Law) kicked off the first day. Located just 15 minutes outside of New Orleans, the beautiful NOLA Motorsports Park hosted a road course, an off-road course, and a skid pad demonstration. Nestled in between the road course and the off-road course, 15 police vehicle manufacturers showcased their latest products.

The Bridgestone Driving Experience was also a very popular destination for attendees. This was an opportunity to test-drive police vehicles with the latest Firestone Firehawk Police Pursuit tires. During this event, attendees had the opportunity to compare the Firehawk against other tires, a rare opportunity to compare apples-to-apples when it comes to testing tires.

Back at the convention center, the new police vehicles were on display from the Big 3 auto manufacturers. One of the highlights this year was GM Envolve providing a PPV Blazer EV with all production components and aftermarket accessories custom designed by Setina Manufacturing. For the first time, attendees were able to sit inside and move around this new pursuit-rated offering from GM Envolve. The new Blazer PPV EV did not disappoint, with production starting early in 2024.

Also on the trade show floor were the latest products from several aftermarket manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers. Kustom Signals showcased a new body-worn camera called the ARGUS BWC with amazing battery life and event detection (it’s so smart, it uses AI to listen for predesignated custom phrases). If the camera hears the officer yell, “DROP THE GUN!” it automatically starts recording. Another key feature is the ability for the officer to control remote access so no one can dial in to view video without the officer’s permission.

Whelen Industries brought their new display with the new Edge lightbars and the Whelen Cloud application. Working with HAAS Safety Systems, Whelen has software to assist emergency vehicles with safe passage through intersections using new technology that integrates with traffic control systems. This technology is something all the emergency lighting vendors are working on and it’s just in the infancy stages, as this will clearly keep first responders and the public safer.

New this year was TRU/CLEAR ARMOUR by Global Public Safety. This ballistic product called Clear Armor is amazing as it is “one-way” ballistic glass. This is done through a stick-on coating to the inside of the glass. The glass is bulletproof from the outside while still allowing officers or citizens to defend themselves from the inside. It is available for vehicles, home, office, or any glass. The valuable savings is that this stick-on coating is for any window, with no structural changes to the window. Tru Armor is for vehicles, as it is one of the few that allows for complete window functionality while providing ballistic protection.

Code3 Lighting showcased their new Matrix lighting packages of mega Flex LED emergency lighting modules in 3 inches and 4 inches. These lights are extremely bright and able to stick on any surface, including curved surfaces. New this year is the Matrix OutLiners Series that allows for lower lighting along sidesteps or body frame.

Vehicle-mounted night vision and IR cameras were in abundance this year. Southeast Responder Solutions showed up with the NightRide thermal imaging cameras. The most popular was the spotlight-mounted camera, which sends images wirelessly to the vehicle or smartphone using WiFi. Mounting options include GoPro style mounting, K9 mounted, or rooftop mounted.

Federal Signal brought a new entry into the pushbar world, their DFC Pushbumper (with a matte texture finish, 10 lights that can go without drilling a hole, an amazingly simple and fast install and integrated speakers built right in).

Everyone at the show got hands-on exposure with the latest products and services from some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry (if it goes on a police vehicle, then it was somewhere on the show floor). Attendees could sit in on cutting-edge presentations that directly pertained to highly experienced or new police fleet managers. This year’s new curriculum offered outstanding fleet training taught by industry experts, which included five separate educational tracks.

Once again, the always-popular Tire Forensics session was fully booked. This session, put on by the master himself, Mr. T.J. Tennent of “The Tyre Guy,” is a huge favorite as T.J. provides fleet managers with the insight into how important tires are to every agency.

There were several sessions on upfitting new vehicles, dealing with complex electrical issues, and some interesting sessions on how to implement electric vehicles into your fleet. New this year was the presence of YouTuber (and Miami Police Officer) Nick OFF Duty. In his usual hilarious manner, Nick posted several PFE23 videos including a tour of the Expo floor and another at DriveX, where he highlighted the new offerings from all three vehicle OEMs. If you missed this year’s show, you can go to YouTube and check out his videos, which are very well done and informative. You can see more at  https://www.youtube.com/c/NickOFFDuty.

One of the highlights of Police Fleet Expo are the nightly vendor-sponsored networking events. These events are always the best places to make new contacts and see old friends and industry colleagues. This year, all the vendors stepped up and provided some amazing evening events for all attendees.

Federal Signal Welcome Networking Reception (Sunday, Aug. 13)
New this year, a fourth networking reception was added to the schedule, hosted by Federal Signal. For those attendees who arrived early at the Hilton Hotel (the host hotel), they could check in and without leaving the hotel, attend a fun and relaxing event that included tarot card readers, cigar rolling exercises, and delicious food.

Whelen Networking Event (Monday, Aug. 14)
Located across from the convention center, the historic Sugar Mill was selected by Whelen for their popular annual event. It was a night of New Orleans-style fun with world-famous cuisine, music, entertainment, and more.

Code 3/Westin Public Safety/Printek Networking Event (Tuesday, Aug. 15)
The Creole Queen Paddlewheeler provided a great backdrop for a casino-themed evening put on by Code 3, Westin Public Safety, and Printek. Attendees passed several police vehicles on display to board the boat. Once aboard, Southern-inspired cuisine tempted onlookers, with a wide range of casino games and numerous giveaways raffled off throughout the night.

Setina Manufacturing/SoundOff Signal/Intermotive Vehicle Controls/911 Circuits Networking Event (Wednesday, Aug. 16)
Attendees casually strolled through Mardi Gras World to get up close and personal with famous floats and then proceeded next door to an enchanted mansion for authentic Southern fare and a DJ spinning tunes. This one-of-a-kind experience was graciously hosted by Setina Manufacturing, SoundOff Signal, Intermotive Vehicle Controls, and 911 Circuits.

If you are interested in a “One Stop Shop” conference that provides fleet-focused education, a large trade show floor, and a challenging on/off road driving event, then Police Fleet Expo is the event for you!

Save the Date! Police Fleet Expo 2024 (PFE) will take place Aug. 12–15 at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, TX, so start making plans now. This will be the 20th anniversary of the first PFE Expo, which started in Grand Rapids, MI.

The Latest from PFP

Rugged laptops

Fall 2023 Rugged Laptops for Police Vehicles

Vehicle upfit

Planning Your Next Vehicle Upfit…Do-It-Yourself or Outsource?

Timing asset replacement for cost efficiency

The Million Dollar Decision: Timing Asset Replacement for Cost Efficiency