Protection from Blood Borne Hazards
Another area of consideration with duty gloves is how well they will protect you from body fluids and various pathogens.
If you come upon a major trauma incident, will your duty gloves protect you as you perform first responder obligations? If you have Gore-Tex-lined gloves, this barrier will greatly reduce the risk of your skin coming in contact with blood borne hazards.
Gloves lined with Crosstech (a pathogen barrier by Gore-Tex) are an even better option. However, if I were to come in contact with vast quantities of body fluids that soaked my gloves, I would safely dispose of mine. No need to risk contamination.
If you do not have duty gloves that will protect you from blood borne pathogens, I suggest wearing a small glove carrier on your already crowded duty belt to carry nitrile surgical-style gloves. Nitrile gloves are tougher than their latex counterparts and few if any people are allergic to nitrile, while many folks are allergic to latex. These surgical-style gloves will protect you from liquids, can be worn under your duty gloves if need be, and you can use them to collect evidence without introducing your fingerprints and contaminating a crime scene.
Knuckle and finger protection is a feature that's appeared in gloves in just the last couple of years. These gloves come in a couple of different styles: hard or soft protection.
Soft protection is simple padding along the finger and/or back of the hand; this will soften most blows. The hard style is generally hard shell protection for your fist knuckles; you can literally punch a wall and not fracture your hand.
These gloves are designed to protect your hands from bangs and bruises of entries or other heavy-duty activities on your shift.
Another type of glove that is making an appearance in uniform shops is made for traffic duty. These gloves have various reflective materials on the backs and palms on high visibility bodies. This is intended to catch the attention of motorists so they will follow your hand signals while directing traffic. These gloves are also seeing more use by bicycle patrol officers to enhance their visibility when pedaling along the roads on patrol.
Search High and Low
Nowadays you can find gloves that will meet your seasonal, mission, and personal requirements; you just have to look for them. When looking for gloves for duty, don't limit your thinking to your favorite uniform shop. Many quality gloves can be found in big box sporting goods stores and catalogs that are known for supplying military gear. If you are a bicycle cop your local bike shop is a suggested stop, and even your local auto parts shop offers gloves that could serve you well on duty.
Most of the guys I go shooting with and/or work with have several pairs of gloves for duty. The gloves they choose are from 10 Zero, 5.11 Tactical, BlackHawk, Damascus, EOTAC, Franklin, Hatch Worldwide, Oakley, Mechanix Wear, TurtleSkin, and Wiley X. All of these manufacturers will serve you well and reduce the injuries to your hands. Don't go out on the streets without a pair or two; your hands will thank you.
Scott Smith is a former federal police officer for the Department of Veteran's Affairs and a contributing editor to POLICE.
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