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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.
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Rookie Shopping Sprees

Ask yourself whether the gear is a "need" or a "want." And always consider agency policy first.

September 13, 2010  |  by William Harvey - Also by this author

Rarely do we like to make fun of the young officers or rookies. But, there are times that you can not help yourself when it comes to your things or rookie stuff.

Both are technical words in the police world, I have never used the term police 'toys,' but rather 'needful things' and 'stuff' will always suffice for a code word as a reason to go to a gun show or cop shop.

However, the vast portion of what we purchase are life-saving materials of our vocation. Who would poke jest at a doctor who purchases a new stethoscope? You may ask what the difference is.

Rookies will buy nearly anything without the trifecta of questions that every young cop should ask themselves before a purchase.

  1. Can I carry this item on-duty without a policy violation? If the answer is yes, proceed to question 2. However, if the response is a worrisome 'I do not know,' stop and research this a tad. And if it is a definite 'no'; stop now! I will get back to a sidebar discussion later.
  2. Is this a need or a want? If you were raised by an Irish mother, you know this drill. A need is something needful for work, survival or immediate application for work. A want is like the latest, bright shiny nicky neat cool thing that you want, for which you have no real purpose and you need to count to a hundred slowly before grapping your plastic.
  3. If this is a true need, the next question is can I afford it now? Rookies make the least amount of money, so use some frugal reasoning here. If you have a spouse, kids, kids on the way, past college loans or car payment that's too high, wait for another day.

There seems to be a trend to have the handgun of the day and then the holster du jour to go with each weapon. Stop and let me off the debt train before it crashes into the training train. If you have to select a weapon carrying system, get one and stick to it. I have seen far too many holster selections and gun combos.

I have always been told, be wary of an old man with only one gun; he probably knows how to use it. Visit your armorer or range master, get some insights on a logical safe-carry system. Often, a couple of good quality holsters with good safety retention will get you by for now. What is more important in your life is that you know how to use it and train with it.

The other question that beckons is quality verses cheap equipment. I always insist on quality eyewear. You won't want to follow ZZ Top's advice and purchase "Cheap Sunglasses."

Eye protection is paramount. One good sunny day patrol with glare will generate the mother of all headaches; the word here is polarization. Then seek sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UVB rays and at least 95 percent of UVA rays.

This level of UV protection is in accordance with guidelines established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Your long-term vision can be at stake here, this is a quality investment.

Tags: Duty Gear, Eyewear, Duty Pistols, Purchasing Equipment


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