Title:
Fellow Law Officers Encounter Warning System (FLOEWS)
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The purpose of the Fellow Law Officers Encounter Warning System (FLOEWS) is to apply infrared signal technology to provide an advanced real-time early warning response to police officers who encounter a fellow off-duty-plainclothes or undercover officer during their response to the commission of a crime, to provide off-duty-plainclothes and undercover police officers with a layer of safety as they carry out their duties as police officers, and ultimately to prevent the circumstances surrounding friendly fire.



Inventors:
Mathis, Lawrence (US)
Application Number:
11/490106
Publication Date:
01/24/2008
Filing Date:
07/21/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
89/1.11
International Classes:
F41F5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HAYES, BRET C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAWRENCE MATHIS (BOWIE, MD, US)
Claims:
1. This application claims the Utility Patent Rights to the concept of applying emitter-detector signal (IR, generic species Radio Frequency (RF) technology to provide Law Enforcement Officers with an advantage Fellow Officers Encounter Warning system to advert friendly fire.

2. This application claims the Utility Patent Rights to the method describe in attaching the emitter-detector signal technology to Law Enforcement Officers and their firearms to provide Law Enforcement Officers with an advanced Fellow Officers Encounter Warning system to advert friendly fire.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

The development of the FLOEW System utility, described in this application, received no federal sponsorship; therefore, no rights are afforded to this invention under the federally sponsored research and development program.

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

An old police tradition of requiring off-duty-plainclothes officers to carry their weapons—“always armed, always on duty”—is being scaled back in police departments nationwide following the shootings of off-duty officers by colleagues who thought they were criminals. The policies require officers to respond to crimes even when they are not on duty. Supporters say the tradition also protects officers from criminals bent on revenge. Nevertheless, critics point to the shooting of officers in Oakland, Providence, Orlando, Fla., and elsewhere as reasons for change. Providence's policy is now at the center of a $20 million civil rights lawsuit over the shooting of an officer who was killed while off duty and trying to break up a fight. He wore baggy jeans, an overcoat and a baseball cap, and carried a gun. According to the FBI, 43 police officers have been killed since 1987 by friendly fire. In 2001, two uniformed officers shot and killed an undercover detective when he pointed his gun at a suspected car thief in Oakland. In January 2006, an off-duty-plainclothes New York City police officer, who drew his weapon to defend himself against an assault by several men, was shot and killed by a fellow officer.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police has called “always on duty” policies a costly tradition. The group, which has more than 20,000 members, recommends that off-duty officers who witness a crime call for assistance rather than draw a weapon.

In Providence, carrying a gun is now optional for off-duty officers, who are encouraged instead to be good witnesses if they see a crime. The police unions in Washington, D.C., succeeded in securing similar rules after three off-duty officers were killed in separate incidents. The Los Angeles Police Department allows its officers to carry their weapons off duty but doesn't require it. The trend of Law Enforcement Agencies to scale-back or rescind the “always armed, always on duty” policies will have a negative impact on the law enforcement capability and ultimately public safety.

2.5 BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The FLOEW System is a real-time alert system that uses Infrared (IR) signal technology to provide uniform, off-duty-plainclothes, and undercover police officers with a preventive measure against police (typically uniform) officers who mistakenly fire-on fellow officers while responding to the commission of a crime—friendly fire. The FLOEW System provides police officers with an advanced alert of an impending fellow officer encounter, more specifically, that their firearm has been drawn against an off-duty-plainclothes or undercover police officer who has responded to the commission of a crime. The FLOEW System allows off-duty-plainclothes and undercover police officers to continue to provide the maximum level of law enforcement capability to ensure public safety; while providing them with layer of safety against friendly fire.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

Drawing 1 of 5 (Emitter)

FIG. 1: A Side view depicting the emitter and the attachment clip

FIG. 2: A Top view depicting the emitter power status button, the cover screw, and semi-circle opening for alternate attachment.

FIG. 3: A Rear view depicting the emitter USB/RS232 converter cable interface (this port is configured on the Programmable Interface Model only).

FIG. 4: A Front view depicting the emitter infrared LED.

FIG. 5: A Top view depicting the emitter attachment clip

Drawing 2 of 5 (Detector)

FIG. 1: A Side view depicting the detector Mode Selector switch (OFF-AUTO-ON).

FIG. 2: A Top view depicting the detector Mode Selector switch.

FIG. 3: A Rear view depicting the detector Signal Detection Indicator LED, the Detection Mode switch for selecting (Audible or LED), and alarm output.

FIG. 4: A Front view depicting the detector IR LED, and the USB/RS232 converter cable interface (This port is configured on the Programmable Interface Model only).

FIG. 5: A bottom view depicting the detector panel access screw.

Drawing 3 of 5 (Mounting Bracket)

FIG. 1: A Side view depicting the detector Mounting Bracket attached to the handle of a gun clip/magazine.

FIG. 2: A Top view depicting the detector Mounting Bracket.

FIG. 3: A Front view depicting the detector Mounting Bracket.

Drawing 4 of 5 (Detector and Mounting Bracket Assembly)

FIG. 1: A Side view depicting the full assembly of the Detector and Mounting Bracket attached to the handle of a gun clip/magazine.

FIG. 2: A Front view depicting the full assembly of the Detector and Mounting.

FIG. 3: A Rear view depicting the full assembly Detector and Mounting Bracket.

Drawing 5 of 5 (Configuration Management Framework)

The FLOEWS Programmable Emitter and Detector Model Configuration Management Framework.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Off-duty-plainclothes and undercover police officers who respond to the commission of a crime do so under the constant stress and threat of being shot by an ensuing fellow officer. Although police officers are trained to yell “police!” when they draw their weapon during the commission of a crime, environmental noises may cause them not to be heard, this leaves the potential for friendly fire accidents to occur. The purpose of the FLOEW System is to provide an advanced real-time early warning response to uniformed police officers who encounter a fellow off-duty-plainclothes or undercover police officer during to the commission of a crime. The goals of the FLOEW System are to alert police officers, warning them of the impending fellow officer encounter and ultimately avoiding friendly fire. And, to avoid the emotional pain and suffering of families, and the financial liability to municipals that result from fatal law enforcement friendly fire accidents.

The FLOEW System uses infrared technology to emit and detect signals. The IR emitter module (drawing 1, FIGS. 1-5) is attached (suspend around the neck or clip to clothing) to the body and emits a continuous signal when the voltage is applied, power button ON. The IR detector has two operation positions: the ON position activates the IR detector and establishes a continuous signal detection state, while the Auto position activates, through an internal mercury switch, the detector when the firearm is in the motion of being raised and aimed. Both positions activate the IR Detector immediately, enabling it to detect the signal generated by the IR Emitter and sound a piezoelectric alarm or illuminate an LED. These alarm signals alert the police officer of the impending fellow officer encounter and averts the potential for friendly fire.

The FLOEW emitter-detector Programmable Model (drawing 1, FIG. 3 and drawing 2, FIG. 4) IR signal setting can be changed. The programmable FLOEWS emitter-detector models are supported by FLOEWS Configuration Management Framework (FCMF) (drawing 5) to provide Law Enforcement Administrators with the capability of varying FLOEW emitter-detector module IR signal setting, assigning and managing Law Enforcement Officers emitter-detector module IR signal updates. The FCMF provides Law Enforcement Officers with remote (in-the-field) emitter-detector modules signal update access. Law Enforcement Officers can use a computer to login, using a web-base password protected enterprise application, to the FCMF database and update and/or verify the current emitter-detector modules signal frequency.

The Detector module is contained in a small rigid plastic encasement equal in size to the base of the handgun (9 mm) clip (drawing 2, FIGS. 1-5). The Detector is equipped with an IR LED and circuit logic, PIC microcontroller, band-pass filter, pull-up resistor, power switch, DC voltage source, 85 dB piezoelectric alarm, and mercury switch. The programmable IR Detector model includes a variable frequency IR circuit, serial interface port, and a capacitor.

The Detector is inserted into a black matted lightweight metal mounting bracket (drawing 3, FIGS. 1-3). This assembly is attached to the base of the handgun (9mm) clip (drawing 4, FIGS. 1-3) with semi-circular surface securing lumps.

The Emitter module is contained in a small rigid plastic encasement (drawing 1, FIGS. 1 thru 5). The emitter contains an IR LED, with a 180 degree beam emission angle, and is capable of emitting 180 mW of IR energy at a peak wave-length of 1140 nm, VDC voltage source, and power (On/Off) switch. The programmable IR Detector model includes and IR LED circuit that can be varied thru the use of a serial interface port connection (drawing 1, FIG. 3 and drawing 2, FIG. 4).

Infrared detectors require the data signal to arrive in the form of a modulated signal. The modulation component is referred to as the carrier. One stage of the detectors internal circuitry consists of a band-pass filter. The job of the band-pass filter is to reject light energy or un-wanted data signals not modulated at the band-pass filter center frequency. This helps keep the output stage of the detector from emitting false-pulses or dark-bits, and is a simple method for discriminating between ambient light or noise, and the intended data signal.

The FLOEWS System is concerned with the intended data signal or carrier-frequency to drive the IR Detector module output (IR LED or piezoelectric alarm). The output stage of the FLOEWS IR Detector module includes an internal pull-up resistor. In the resting state [no data or carrier being received] this pull-up resistor holds the IR Detector module's output-pin at logic 1 until infrared energy modulated at the band-pass frequency strikes the face of the detector module. Once the modulated signal is detected, the output of the detector goes to logic 0 [ground], and indicates to the PIC microcontroller that IR energy modulated at the carrier frequency is being received by the detector module. The output of the IR Detector module is connected to I/O-pin on the PIC microcontroller. For purpose of this discussion Port-B, bit #7 (FIG. 1) is used as a reference in the code to detect a valid carrier frequency being received by the IR Detector module. When PortB.7=0 [carrier frequency is detected], illuminates an LED or drives a piezoelectric alarm connected to Port-B, bit #0. The LED and piezoelectric alarm are used as verification that the IR Detector module is receiving the IR emitter's carrier frequency. A capacitor is used in the IR detector module circuit to help stabilize the output. The capacitor acts as a filter, and ensures that only a strong reflected infrared signal produces the desired output of logic 0 by absorbing the small negative noise spikes. Without the capacitor, the potential for very fast ON/OFF fluctuations of the LED/piezoelectric alarm connected to PortB.0 can be noticed.