FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Paul Clinton

Paul Clinton

As the POLICE Web editor, Paul Clinton contributes posts about patrol cars, motorcycles, and other police vehicles. He previously wrote about automotive electronics as managing editor of Mobile Electronics. Prior to that, he was an award-winning newspaper reporter.



William Harvey

William Harvey

William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.
Careers

Carrying the Load

Don't weigh yourself down with needless gadgets.

November 30, 2009  |  by William Harvey - Also by this author

Maybe we've read too many gear articles or issued out way too many "things," but I think backpacks are the next police issue. Stop and look at your duty belt and count the accoutrements of war you're carrying.

Count only the issued or the required ones—belt, holster, bullet launcher, extra ammo with carrier, handcuffs, radio, impact instrument, OC aerosol spray, and four keepers to hold it tidy. You could have an electronic control device (ECD). Did I forget the ballistic vest? Now, go weigh all of this. Are you getting the picture?

Did I forget your cell phone, glove carrier, flashlight, keys, extra cuffs, knife or multi-tool with carrier, microphone or Secret Squirrel Decoder Ring? It is no wonder that most cops in their latter years have back problems. This is why I stress taking time to keep yourself fit and the importance of stretching (on, as well as off duty).

I guess it must have been cool in the old days when a copper carried only a pocket pistol, truncheon, and cuffs. They had far less stuff to carry, to keep up with, and to care for.

Today, we have a litany of specialized police tools and instruments issued. I always laugh when a new product comes out and wonder if the holster manufacturers are tooling up for the new nicky neat police gadget. Does it come in basketweave?

With some items, I really wonder about the inventors. Do they actually believe we're going to hump this stuff around? I keep wondering if we are going to use cargo pants and load-bearing hook-and-loop closures. MOLLE compatible vests are next.

The reason I bring this up for thought is the amount of other things we carry, such as a secondary weapon, extra knife or two, extra ammo for both of your weapons, add another knife and whatever else you can conceive of. I actually know a cop who carries a mouthpiece for when he becomes physical; he has that level of protection. What's next? How do you carry, place, and control all of this "stuff"?

Once you have all your street gear on, consider performing a jump test. Stand up, perform a few classic jumping jacks, run up a flight of steps, and then get in and out of the patrol car a few times.

Immediately perform an equipment check and find out how much stuff fell off, what has loosened up, and then what needs to be repositioned. Next, have a trusted friend with you when this occurs. How much noise discipline do you have? Can you walk up on someone without rattling or squeaking?

Usually, this is when a reality orientation moment hits you. Now you come to grips with and then correlate your amount of physical output to the ratio of equipment you are humping around.

In other words, if you carry all that equipment you'll want to understand that you're not going to sprint without equipment loss. You won't be springing over fences like a movie cop without getting hung up on your ankle holster.

To be honest, I feel we are like tortoises and if we fall on our backs we will never get up. Look at what the other senior officers are carrying and their methodology of carry. What do you really need or can get by without that doesn't compromise your safety or mission?

It is a strain to carry and account for all the needful things of life. Rely on your FTO and academy staff to get you thinking about how you'll carry the load and perform. Besides, by the time you read this there will be yet another nicky neat item invented to carry. Better call the holster guys up now!

Tags: Duty Gear


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.
Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine