by Clint Sandusky, former PCI #849/EMSCI #159
Riverside (CA) Community College District Police Department (retired)
As I began writing this product review on the Serfas TSL-Police Lighting Systems, I reflected on the many advancements in police lighting systems over my 24 years in law enforcement. From battery-operated to rechargeable, watts to lumens, and very few features and options to many!
As the opportunity presented itself, I began using the Serfas system toward the end of my career and continue to use it in my CA POST Bike Patrol Course teachings and while patrolling on bike at my local church (a whole new use for the bike!).
The TSL-Police Systems are fairly new to the LE market, launched in Fall 2013. Of course, the biggest thing that pops out on this light is its MAX headlight output (white light) of 1400 lumens! Simply AMAZING!
Serfas has models for both Police and Security/EMS use. For Police, you can choose from a red solid/blue blink, red blink/blue blink, or blue blink/blue blink models. For Security (or EMS), there is an amber/amber model. There is also an “LAPD model,” which will be discussed later.
Included with each model is a headlight, an integrated Special TL-80 tail light which has Appropriate Signaling for Model, plug-in wired remote, quick release handlebar mount, tail light and helmet mounts, rechargeable battery, and all the needed cords and straps.
One feature I stumbled upon by accident is the swiveling handlebar mount. It’s good for shining light a little to either side or in allowing some headlight movement during those unplanned impacts. All models come in a very COOL carrying case.
The photo is a chart of the runtimes and lumens (lm) outputs for you techies.
Now that I’ve dazzled you with some specs and some photos, let’s get down to the cool and practical stuff.
With a MAX headlight output (white light) of 1400 lumens, your “contacts” won’t know what hit them! It’s an amazing amount of light thrown down range to illuminate your way or “contacts” and to add to your visibility out there on the streets.
Like most public safety lighting systems, the TSL-Police Systems have two main modes; A “Headlight Mode” (white lights only) and what Serfas calls “Pursuit Mode” (Police) or “Security Mode.”
Within each main mode, there are three different modes/settings available to the rider. As an example, in the headlight mode, the first mode/setting is MAX brightness (white light of 1400 lm), the second is a lesser 500 lm white light, and the third is “signaling” (flashing white lights).
In the Pursuit Mode, the red solid/blue blink model (a.k.a. CA model) offers a red solid/blue blink with headlights in the first mode, a red solid with headlights in the second, and red solid/blue blink only in the third.
The lights can be turned on/off from the headlight or a wired remote switch, which plugs into the back of the headlight. At this time, the remote switch is only a single switch vs. dual switch (which normally work a headlight and pursuit modes separately). What this means is that to get to the headlight (civilian) mode, you must hold down the switch for approximately two seconds to activate the first, headlight mode.
Serfas is considering offering a dual switch in the future, which I suggested should also be sturdier than the existing one. They are also considering adding a siren. I can tell you that all new TSL-Police Lighting Systems now come with an oversized (beefier) handlebar mount (Item #UNI-OS).
A very cool feature of these lighting systems is a USB port on the battery that can be used as back-up power to charge your USB devices, like your cell phone, when you are on your in-field Code-7(that’s lunch in CA), or when travelling. To my knowledge, no other public safety lighting systems offer this feature.
As alluded to previously, there is a new “LAPD” model, which includes a very cool and necessary (especially in some patrol environments), “Stealth Mode.” This model has most of the features of the other models, but also includes a “Stealth Mode.” In this mode, the headlight is blacked-out while the tail light displays red solid for rear visibility and safety.
Practically speaking, holding down the blue-lit light switch on top of the headlight or the remote light switch for approximately two to three seconds, puts the system into a standby (stealth) mode. The blue-lit switch will begin to flash. At this point, with one touch of the headlight or remote switches, you instantly shine 1400 lumens in your contact’s face. A beautiful thing!
This LAPD model is only available from American Bike Patrol Services (ABPS) at http://www.bikepatrol.info. Through the Product Purchase Program, IPMBA members receive 10% off the listed price on it or any other TSL-Police Models, including the Security Model. All non-LAPD models have a MSRP of $440, so be sure to take advantage of your discount. If pricing is prohibitive, Serfas also offers a less-expensive police model: the TSL-LE with max headlight output (white light) of 600 lumens.
The Bottom Line
Serfas’ TSL-Police Lighting Systems have many cool features and options, which, in my opinion, make them will worth the price. Over my almost 23 years of bike patrol experience and teaching, I’ve used many different brands of police lighting systems. I am very happy with all the different models and features these TSL-Police Lighting Systems offer. I very much appreciate any LE tool which makes the job more effective and safer for all of us, and I would recommend this system to anyone out there!
For more information on Serfas, all its wide-ranging products and warranty policy, go to http://www.serfas.com.
Be Safe out there and “light up” your beats with your new Serfas lights!
Clint retired on April 3, 2016, after a 24-year career in law enforcement both with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Riverside Community College District Police Department (RCCD PD). While with RCCD, he served as the department’s Bike Team Coordinator. Clint helped form his college department’s bike patrol team in 1993 and rode on it until his retirement. Since 1994, he’s been a CA POST certified Bike Instructor. He attended numerous police bicycle patrol and bicycle safety courses, including the IPMBA Police Cyclist, Advanced Police Cyclist, and Instructor Course. He taught at the 2006 and 2007 IPMBA Conferences. He actively competes in USA Cycling amateur cross-country mountain bike races and since 1999, he has competed and medaled in the cross-country mountain bike events at the now-known-as United States Police & Fire Games. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2017 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of IPMBA News.