Police Equipment Essentials and Extras


In order to do his or her job, an officer must be outfitted from head to toe with appropriate police equipment. Police supply stores sell uniforms and badges so that officers can be readily identified. Police gear is often ordered in bulk. However, a department must order certain pieces of clothing to size to accommodate the different builds of officers. Clothing and equipment is now offered for sale on the Internet.

Some items are required for all officers. For example, almost all on duty street officers need a police duty belt which is also known as a gun belt. The belt allows officers to have their hands free to interact with each other and potential criminals while carrying their gear. Equipment commonly found on gun belts includes:

  • Handcuffs- these are used to restrain a criminal. They are commonly made of metal and applied while the alleged criminal’s hands are behind his or her back. This allows the officer to easily frisk the individual or get him or her into the police car without resistance.
  • Fire arms- in the United Kingdom most police are unarmed. However, in the United States many police carry handguns. Police must be trained to use handguns and the guns must be appropriately maintained.
  • Alternative protection devices- police in the United States that do not carry handguns usually have some sort of protective police equipment such as pepper spray or a baton. Alternative protection devices are more commonly used in areas where the threat of violence is not as probable (e.g. often campus police do not carry handguns). Pepper spray is a chemical agent often used in riot control or self-defense. When an officer sprays a person with pepper spray it causes tears and temporary blindness as well as significant pain. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has documented people who have died following exposure to pepper spray, so police try to avoid using it whenever possible.
  • Biking supplies- police that cover small areas that do not have roads or where cars cannot navigate conveniently commonly use mountain bikes. Examples of such areas include universities and sections of large parks like Central Park in New York City. Officers on bicycles need accessories such as helmets and bike gloves.
  • First aid kits- police can often be first on the scene of an accident and need to be equipped to care for an injured person.

Other police gear is only necessary in special circumstances and is not carried by officers on an everyday basis. Such equipment is employed by specialized police task forces in the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) or in specialized units of drug enforcement divisions.

For example, ballistic vests, also known as bulletproof vests, are usually worn only when the threat of incoming gunfire is probable. This sort of police equipment is often worn by SWAT teams. The vests are worn around the torso to protect officers from the bullets of handguns and shotguns. They can even protect against hand grenades. Unfortunately, they do not protect the head or extremities.

Police are only able to do their job if they are well-equipped. For this reason advocates for police work demand that police departments are well-funded by taxpayer dollars.


Source by Anne Clarke

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