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What Gear Do I Need?

November 01, 2007  |  by - Also by this author

The answer to this question is not a simple list. What you will need to buy your first year on the job varies depending on what agency you work for and its policies.

If you work for some agencies, they may issue you everything you need, including a knife, a backup gun, and an off duty gun. Others are known to give their sworn personnel exactly one item: a badge. The rest must be procured by the new officer and paid for with his or her equipment allowance and with personal funds. Some agencies let their officers make their own choices as to what gear to carry, including sidearms. Others dictate exactly what you can and can't carry.

So to help give you some insight into what you'll actually need on the street, the editors of POLICE Magazine contacted a number of veteran officers and asked them to give you some advice. Here's what they had to say.


Let's assume that your new agency will issue you a uniform. They will likely issue you a patrol uniform, a dress uniform, and maybe even a battle dress uniform (BDU). At the very least, they will probably specify the make of your uniforms and order you to buy them with your equipment allowance.

But you're going to need a lot more than a uni on your body when you hit the field. You are signing up for a profession that truly believes in the old postman's code. And you will be working in rain, sleet, snow, frigid cold, and searing heat. It comes with the territory.

The first step to making yourself more comfortable on the job is having some good outerwear. Start your search with a look at these offerings from 5.11 Tactical and Elbeco.

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