Whether you are about the graduate the academy or have been on the road for 20 years, it’s important to be as well equipped as possible to do the job effectively. Yes, it’s true that cops 30 years ago barely carried more than a gun and a pair of handcuffs, but police work has changed and we must change with it. Most departments supply the basics, like a gun, a pair of handcuffs, a radio, and some sort of less-than-lethal option (pepper spray, baton, TASER), but here are 5 pieces of equipment you should strongly consider purchasing for yourself in addition to those items.
This is an important piece of life-saving equipment that every single cop needs to carry on them. And I mean carry it somewhere on your person, whether it’s on the belt, vest, or in a pocket, and not just stuffed in a first aid kit buried under everything else in your trunk. It could mean the difference between life or death for you or one of your partners. There are a ton of options out there, but I prefer the CAT for it being easy to use on both yourself and others. I also suggest getting a spare to use to practice with so you know exactly what to do should the time come.
Like I said before, most departments issue a pair of handcuffs. However, there are tons of situations out there where you will find yourself needing more than one pair. Personally, I carry two pairs on me, with another pair in the car that I grab and throw on my belt if I know I might need them. Again, there are a ton of options for these. I have a couple of pairs of Smith & Wesson cuffs, and one pair of ASP. The ASP ones have some really cool features that make them really easy and convenient to use.
Yes, I did use the plural form of “flashlight” on purpose. The old adage of “Two is one and one is none” applies here, especially if you work nightshift. My department issues Mag-lights to everyone. It puts out good light, but I find it too big and bulky for everyday purposes. I carry a Streamlight ProTac HL on my vest that I use for most situations. It’s a good mix between being a convenient size and putting out good light. It also has a clip so I can slip it onto my uniform if I need both hands, and is rechargeable. I also keep a small Streamlight in my car in case something happens to both other options. If your department allows weapon lights, I highly suggest investing in one of those as well. As many times as you grab your flashlight off your belt, it’s harder to find than you think in a high-stress situation. The weapon light is a much better option, as long as you train with it.
This is the easiest option on this list. Buy a box of Nitrile latex gloves and keep it in your car, with a couple of pairs kept on you for when you need them. There are plenty of ways to get around even buying them. If your department doesn’t keep boxes lying around the station, I can guarantee your Fire Department has hundreds of them. Stop by a station and a lot of them don’t mind giving out a box. You can also buy some search gloves, but I don’t recommend investing in a super expensive pair. Chances are they will get lost or take enough accidental tumbles through the washer and dryer to the point where you will look like OJ Simpson trying to get them onto your hands.
Spoiler alert: a rifle round is going to tear right through the soft body armor most departments issue that you wear every day. Many departments have started to issue some sort of additional armor, and I’m lucky enough to be part of one of those. If you aren’t, it might not be a bad idea to explore the many options out there for this additional protection. You can never be too careful in these times of police ambushes and active shooter situations.
These are just some of the additional pieces of equipment I suggest. What are some items you carry that you think should be added? Discuss in the comments below, on our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), or in our new Reddit community.