Few IPMBA members would argue that IPMBA plays an important role in connecting public safety cyclists to manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers of products suitable for on-duty use. The annual IPMBA conference provides an opportunity for those companies committed to serving the needs of this niche market to come together with some of the most active and influential public safety cyclists in the field.
At its core, the IPMBA conference is about learning. In keeping with this theme, IPMBA was excited to experiment with a few new activities designed to enhance the knowledge of both attendees and exhibitors. Exhibitors were afforded the opportunity to present informational seminars and demonstrations within the exhibit hall. Scheduled during exhibit hall hours, these 20-minutes sessions were conducted either on a small stage or on a cone course conveniently constructed in the exhibit hall. Each vendor who participated used the opportunity to educate listeners about their products and their applications for public safety cyclists.
The most successful suppliers are those who know their audience. In the 2012 vendor meeting, someone mentioned that it would be helpful to observe what was happening beyond the walls of the meeting facility. The result of that remark was the “Tour de Training”. During a break in the exhibit hall hours, the vendor representatives piled into vans and were whisked out the various training venues. For many, it was the first time they had witnessed public safety cyclists in action at the firing range, participating in Bicycle Response Team maneuvers, learning defensive tactics, practicing scene safety, and more. Those who took the Tour gained a greater understanding of the way in which their products are used in the field. In addition, they engaged in networking and relationship-building with their fellow exhibitors.
It is always exciting to welcome new vendors to the IPMBA Conference. This year’s “freshmen” were Auto Rack Lights, displaying an auxiliary lighting system for mounting on vehicle bike racks; Currie Tech and Seattle E-Bikes, showing off the latest in electric bike technology; HAIX® Footwear, introducing the bike patrol-suitable BLACK EAGLE ® Athletic 11 Lows; Head Pro Tech, marketing a lightweight protective helmet with great potential for Bicycle Response Teams; Kryptonite, known for their high-quality bicycle security systems and anti-theft devices; Law Enforcement Ride and Run to Remember, a benefit run and ride for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund; the Saris Cycling Group, manufacturers of bike racks for cars, bike fleet storage systems, and indoor training solutions; and Trail Rail, featuring made-in-the-USA accessory mounting devices for lights, phones, GPS units, etc., built to stand up to the abuse of outdoor activities.
The “sophomore class” comprised Bern Unlimited, Bound Tree Medical, ISM Saddles, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), Police Bike Store, and The Safariland Group. These were joined by veteran exhibitors like 4Bike-Police.com, Bratwear, iFORCE Patrol Bicycles, Mocean, and Volcanic Bicycles, some of which are in the “Ph.D.” category of vendors.
Beyond the exhibit hall, vendors and supporters contribute in many ways. Mocean outfitted the instructors in white shirts threaded with silver, long known for its anti-bacterial properties. They also made sure the Command Staff looked sharp in classic navy. R&B Fabrications supplied string backpacks in purple, white, and black, which were ideal for holding the Police Bike Store notepad and pen, purple and yellow Polar Bottles, Cantitoe Road chain checkers, Jones & Bartlett pens, Qwik Shower wipes, SAFETEC infection control products, Mardi Gras beads, mini-Tabasco sauce bottles, and more.
Volcanic Bicycles provided the neck wallets – handy for both namebadges and bike check cards! Volcanic also contributed many hours of wrenching, supplemented by local shop Capital Cyclery. The Dude, Where’s My Bike? workshop was generously sponsored by Kryptonite, and ProGold provided supplies for the Maintenance Officer Course and workshops. Reading material was supplied by Law Enforcement Technology, Law Enforcement Product News, Police Magazine, EMS World, and the COPS office.
The silent auction raised more than $2600 in support of IPMBA’s programs, thanks to the generosity of the donors: 4Bike-Police.com, Bernie Hogancamp, Bratwear, Cane Creek, Charlie Summers, Cowbell, Dick Kramer Studios, DutySmith, Ergon, Goodspeed Cycles, Hero Kit, Holster Light, Ice Dot, IFORCE Bicycles, ISM Saddles, Kenda USA, Kryptonite, MTE (Greg McGee Engineering), Park Tool, PatrolCycle, Polar Electro, Police Bike Store, Prestacycle, ProGold, R&B Fabrications, Red Jacket Firearms, Saris Cycling Group, SKS USA, Street Crimes Seminar, Stupid Bright, Ultimate Survival Technologies, and Zoic. The Code 3 Sports Max Patrol 600 Lighting System donated by Police Bike Store was the top seller.
The competition for the winning raffle tickets was fierce. There were three primary prizes: a Smith & Wesson AR-15 upper, a BAMF bicycle (donated by Ryder Partners), and a Safariland Patrol Bike. Clarence “Pops” Kalomeris scored the AR-15 upper, Ryan Hopkins (East Baton Rouge EMS) rode off with the BAMF, and Wayne Vernon (Maryland Transportation Administration Police) took home the Safariland Patrol Bike. Two $50 Bratwear gift certificates were also awarded to Lisa Taube (Asheville Police Department) and Colby Lalli (Blue Springs Police Department). The raffle raised nearly $2700 in support of IPMBA’s programs.
IPMBA appreciates the support of our industry partners – exhibitors, sponsors, advertisers, PPP participants, etc. Show YOUR appreciation by supporting those who support you!