List of Police Officer Equipment and Accessories

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Police officer equipment
Learn about police officer equipment used in the line of duty.

List of Police Officer Equipment

Police officers are everyday heroes who sacrifice their lives daily. Police officers work in a collective effort to ensure serving and protecting citizens. A career in law enforcement isn’t easy, and police work is filled with rigorous physical and emotional demands. Preparation and training are top priorities for a police officer, and the right police officer equipment is critical.

Officers in police departments throughout the United States must be fitted with standard equipment to help protect themselves and citizens against any dangers they may encounter. The following list of police officer equipment represents the items that officers may carry while on duty. The items may be physically carried, fastened to a utility belt, or stored in the police vehicle. See the list of Police Vehicle types for more information. It is important to note that officers do not carry all of these items simultaneously.

Ammunition

Police officers may carry extra ammunition if they need to reload their firearms. The ammunition can be stored on the duty belt or in a magazine pouch. In addition, extra rounds of ammunition may be stored in the patrol vehicle.

Body Cameras

Although they are not part of the standard police uniform, police body cameras are becoming much more popular these days. Law enforcement departments that have begun using the devices found a substantial decrease in complaints about police behavior.

Standard equipment may vary from department to department based on specific needs, but these items cover the basics.

Bulletproof vest

Most police officers prefer to use a soft bulletproof vest as part of their equipment as they are less noticeable. This armored vest can protect an officer against attacks with weapons such as knives, pistols, rifles, small explosives, and the like.

Drones

Although drones are not considered part of the standard equipment officers wear, they are becoming much more popular with national departments. They can track suspects, search for missing persons, survey a damaged area, and more. Learn more about Police Drones.

Duty Belt

The duty belt makes the equipment easy to carry and readily accessible. They are typically made of either leather or nylon and are usually black. The police duty belt is also known as a gun or kit belt.

Flashlight

While it isn’t a mandate, most officers always carry a flashlight with them. Some officers opt for large, heavy models that work well as self-defense tools. Others choose small flashlights with incredibly bright beams. For example, the Fenix and Surefire lights shine over 200 lumens and work great at night. Check out the MagLite ST3D016 3-D Cell LED Flashlight, Black, at Amazon.com.

Handcuffs

Police handcuffs are probably the most used item in their equipment arsenal. Handcuffs are highly effective in keeping the suspect under control and preventing them from causing harm to their person or those around them. Most officers carry around 2-3 pairs to capture and detain more than one perpetrator.

Handgun Holster

The handgun holster is designed to carry a firearm in a convenient place. The holster is often attached to a utility belt but may also be around the upper torso or the leg. Holsters can be made of leather, nylon, or plastic.

Rubber Gloves

Many cops keep one or more rubber gloves in their patrol cars. The gloves are essential when handling crime scene evidence, such as weapons, bullets, and other items. This keeps the officer’s prints off of the items. In addition, officers wear rubber gloves when examining victims.

Radio

Most departments use radios to facilitate communication with dispatch and other officers. The radios are usually attached to the utility belt and are often held with a radio pouch. However, some departments attach the radio to the shoulder area to make it easier for the officer to use. Ten codes are used to help expedite communication.

Uniform

Uniforms vary widely by jurisdiction, law enforcement unit, and type of work performed. For example, they may vary in color. Although, most uniforms are either blue or black.

Police Weapons

Following is a list of police weapons that may be carried in the line of duty. The items can either be carried by the officer or stored in their squad car.

Baton (Nightstick)

One of the oldest items of police equipment, the baton, is generally used to disperse and control crowds of people on the cusp of a riot. Batons also come in handy in protection against unarmed, aggressive people. In addition, batons are often used to break windows and doors to free or rescue trapped victims in dangerous situations.

Knife

Knives can be used as a self-defense weapon or as a cutting tool. A knife can be used to cut a person free of restraint, such as a rope, or to cut a seat belt if someone is trapped in a vehicle. It is important to note that not all cops carry knives due to the risk factors involved.

Mace / Pepper Spray

Officers may carry a canister of mace or pepper spray to help neutralize individuals. The spray makes it difficult for the assailant to see and breathe, which gives officers time to subdue the individual and make an arrest.

Pistol or Firearm

Law enforcement officials face many potentially dangerous situations on any given day. Although they are rarely used, the pistol or firearm is an essential element of the police outfit. The Glock handgun is the preferred weapon for most on-duty police officers. Alternatively, a police officer may choose from a variety of over 20 different types of pistols with models like 10mm, 9mm, .45cal, and .40cal from the list. While the .40 caliber is most often a firearm of choice, an officer may choose any type or model of pistol.

Shotgun

Almost every police car is equipped with a standard 12 gauge shotgun, used during dangerous encounters with armed criminals. Buck shots are used in the shotgun’s magazine, which is the best option for close-range shooting and combat. Most officers carry additional ammunition on their equipment belts. A shootout at over 20 yards will likely call for using the shotgun. Police officers can carry a gun that shoots bean bags, a non-deadly weapon typically used in riot or crowd control situations.

TASER Gun

A relatively new addition to the list of police officer equipment, TASER®guns work more effectively when neutralizing suspects without causing excessive physical harm. On average, TASER guns can travel about 15 feet to latch onto the suspect through layers of clothing and inflict over 50,000 volts of electric current. Enough to leave the suspect temporarily incapacitated, allowing the officer opportunity to make the arrest.

Other Resources

In addition to personal equipment, officers use software programs and tools like the NYPD Patternizr Software, which helps solve crime more quickly.

If you have any questions about police officer equipment, please leave a comment below. View more Spy Gadgets.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including eInvestigator.com. Michael created eInvestigator.com more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at Amazon.com.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s interesting how you said that preparation and training is a top priority for a police officer and the right police officer equipment is critical. I’d be interested to learn more about how the government designs all the uniforms and accessories that a police officer has to wear for when on duty. Thanks for sharing this article, I will definitely keep looking for more information about police helmets, body cameras, and vehicles that they use.

  2. I will be attending a meeting with some senior police officers in my state I want to ask them why they can’t provide this equipment.

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