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Departments : The Winning Edge

Stocking Your Patrol Bag

A sturdy accessible carry-all packed with carefully culled duty essentials sets you up for a successful shift, whatever the day may bring.

December 28, 2010  |  by Adrian Stroud

It is important to have the bandages with you. Some officers even carry 4 x 4's in their shirt pockets. When quickly applied, this can stem off blood flow for you or another officer. Nowadays, there are also blood-clotting agents that are available to be carried in your bag, should you so choose.

I also carried a digital camera and sticky-backed evidence tape that had inches delineated on it. The tape can be rolled out, adhered next to a piece of evidence, and then digitally photographed for scale. Carrying a digital voice recorder can be helpful, too. And they are relatively inexpensive.

Consider Your Environment

Like the job itself, the choice of a patrol bag is very personal and different for every officer. My bag's contents were tailored to a New England officer's job. Every gear bag that I ever purchased, I tried to make sure that it had a waterproof bottom to it. This is essential if you work in ice and snow or rain, like I did in Connecticut.

I took into account extreme temperatures, including freezing winters. I tried to ensure that I could hold off, or hold out, against anything out there as far as being cut off from headquarters was concerned. I had what I needed for any event, be it getting stuck in a Nor'easter blizzard (a common occurrence) or pinned down by incoming rounds until the cavalry could pull me out. When I was a criminalistics specialist in Florida, the environment was totally different. We took into account extreme heat, sweat, and especially salt air near the Gulf of Mexico.

I always tried to make sure I had enough gear in that bag to protect me, feed me, and comfort me. In addition to the aforementioned MREs, water is also important. I see many officers carry hydration systems, which are great. I found that two black plastic military canteens filled with water sufficed (if you drink them dry, fill them the first chance you get at any clean water source). These can be purchased at any Army Navy surplus store very cheaply.

I also carried the all important patrol knife in my bag. I preferred the Masters of Defense Duane Dieter CQD knife. When I took that baby out in the locker room it reminded me of the broad swords that my ancestors carried in jolly old England. What a beautiful piece of equipment.

Deciding on the right mix for a patrol case and patrol bag is up to the individual officer. I always carried two bags to accommodate all my gear. Many of my fellow officers that serve on the S.W.A.T. team carry even more bags. They are required to keep huge gear bags in their cruiser trunks to accommodate long guns, sniper rifles, scopes, and any other accoutrements of the tactical officer.

Tags: Duty Gear


Comments (1)

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

mnork @ 2/18/2011 12:07 PM

Keep in mind, most times when you will need items in said bag, you will already be out of your car. So does it matter if you go to your trunk or your front seat to get it. I don't think it matters enough most times, but does is when you get into your patrol car crash. Most of us will get in at least one during our careers. When you do it may be minor, but it maybe a roll over. If it is a roll over, keep in mind, everything in your compartment not strapped, bolted, tied down, and becomes a missile. If it is big enough say 2-3 pounds or bigger, it may become a deadly missile. Food for thought.

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