Officers with the Austin (TX) Police Department will soon be outfitted with custom-designed load-bearing vests (LBVs) to secure some of their duty gear that is now carried on their duty belts.
According to KXAN-TV, 47 APD officers—with a known medical condition resulting from carrying duty gear on their waist—already have BLVs, and the agency has made the decision to make that option available to every officer on the department.
Sidearms, TASERs, and batons will continue to be carried on the duty belt, but extra magazines, radios, handcuffs, and pepper spray will be moved to the LBVs.
Austin Assistant Chief Todd Smith said, "If we can distribute the weight through the upper body verses just always being on the hips, it’s found it’s a lot better, especially for the patrol officers driving around."
Austin Public Safety Commissioner Meghan Hollis said, "It's good for their backs. It's good for their health."