Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What's On Your Belt?

Law enforcement officers love their gadgets and tools. After all, that's part of the reason you follow this blog and why we see so many of you at the conventions we attend. That said, as a law enforcement officer, there is only so much room on your person to carry these gadgets and tools. Short of wearing a tactical vest when you are out on patrol, you are limited to what will fit on your police duty belt.

 So, what do you keep on your duty belt?  Like all officers, you carry your weapon, extra magazine, handcuffs, a handcuff key, pepper spray, flashlight, and your radio.

Those items take up a great deal of space, but what else should you keep on your duty belt?

  • Window Punch - As a law enforcement officer there are definitely times that you will be first on scene to an automobile accident.  Sometimes, being able to quickly get to an injured person in a vehicle can be a matter of life and death.  But, what if the stores are stuck and the windows are still intact?  Your baton will generally just bounce back at you when you attempt to break a window.  Yet, for costs as low as $15, you can pick up a window punch.  Many of these are no bigger than a pen (meaning you don't even need to take up real estate on your belt), and they allow you a quick and easy way to efficiently shatter a window.
  • Seat Belt Cutter - The seat belt cutter is another $10 tool that can easily save someone's life in an emergency.  Some companies even sell a combination window punch and seat belt cutter, since these tools are often used in conjunction with one another.
  • Flex Cuffs - Your duty belt only has room for so many sets of hand cuffs.  But there are occasions where you will need to apprehend multiple suspects.  At these times flex cuffs can be quite useful.  Flex cuffs cost as little as a dollar, and can actually fit on the inside length of your belt (allowing them to not take up necessary belt space and to be concealed).
  • Latex Gloves - As a first responder you never truly know what type of situation you are walking in to.  If it is necessary to provide medical assistance while you wait for paramedics to arrive, you want to protect yourself from the possibility of contracting a wide-array of blood-borne diseases.
  • Video Recorder - Personal recording equipment is not issued by all departments, and it may actually be against department policy to wear a recording device.  However, if your department allows the use of a personal video recording device, it is a great technology investment.  If you wind up in a confrontation away from the dash camera in your vehicle, it can be your witness against officer complaints from a suspect.
It seems that when it comes to duty belts, low-tech (or no-tech) options tend to be the most popular must-have items.

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