Protecting Those Who Protect Us
Pro-gard Celebrates 50 years of Creating Law Enforcement Products
Writer: Josh Lowe
Photographer: Amy Payne
A Noblesville business has just turned 50. From its founding in 1968 to the present day, Pro-gard has kept its sights on a single mission: keeping police officers safe.
Pro-gard began as a small company simply making partitions to separate police officers from detainees. Now the company makes 35 products, from partitions to gun racks designed for police cars that service the law enforcement community.
“The police car is essentially their office for the day. They need to be safe, protected and efficient in their job,” says president Mike Navarro.
Navarro has been on the job at Pro-gard since 2005. Since then, the company has diversified its product line from making a one-size-fits-all model. As police departments adopted new lines of vehicles, Navarro and his team visited Detroit to learn about the new models. Pro-gard’s engineering department eventually built partitions and other products that would fit various models of police cars.
Pro-gard gathers feedback about its product not just from its 400 distributors but also local departments, from around the country to around the world. Once the ideas are communicated, Pro-gard gets to work on prototypes and designs. In fact, Pro-gard owns different models of police cars, allowing them to test their product in a practical environment before implementation.
Pro-gard has continued to diversify its products as the industry focuses on officer safety. For example, the company developed a new version of a seatbelt that would allow officers to buckle detainees without reaching across them, often exposing the officer to potential harm.
“We need to be strong, reliable and secure,” he says. “Our products need to be all those things to the officers in their absolute worst moments.”
Pro-gard’s mission is to help officers do their job quicker, faster and safer. This vision drives the creation of new products. The company’s newest partition features an integrated ballistic shield, easily detached to provide protection when officers serve a warrant or enter a hostile situation.
“Our ability to be responsive and quick is a significant success,” Navarro adds.
Pro-gard now looks to the future, the next 50 years.
“We’ve been around a long time, so 50 years gives departments a level of trust and reliability.” Indeed, the company is proud to make its new home in Noblesville. Everything is assembled, made and processed in Indiana.
“We serve a community that serves us,” Navarro says. “I think that’s kind of cool.”