(March 10, 2017) - Happy Friday! Welcome to Ask CCPD #9, where we are going to talk about a really "heavy" subject....how much does all that stuff WEIGH? It's a question asked constantly by people we encounter out on patrol, and we usually say we are 25-30 pounds heavier in full gear. But is this accurate, or are we acting like a bunch of tough guys/girls? Let's explore that, and check out the gear that's the source of all that weight while we're at it!
Here we have a duty belt. Black, basket weave pattern (oooo, ahhh!) Mine uses a velcro/metal hook combo, with another option for officers being a plastic buckle with a release, sort of like a seat belt. From left to right:
- Double magazine pouch. Nope, I don't have TIME Magazine rolled up in there for bathroom breaks. Handgun magazines, two of them, 15 rounds in each. I wear mine straight up and down, while some officers prefer them sideways. Our department gives us leeway with how we arrange our belts as long as we can access everything quickly, with a few exceptions.
- Next is the X2 Taser in its holster. The older Tasers had one cartridge with the shock darts (ouch....yes, we all get Tased in training), and we carried one extra cartridge. The X2 has two separate cartridges in it, in case we had to Tase two people (probably a pretty bad scenario for that to go down.) All officers are subjected to the Taser's effects in training, trained in its use, and trained to safely remove the darts once the person is compliant. The Taser must be carried on the opposite side from the handgun, so under high stress the two are never confused.
- Next is our police radio that we use to communicate with dispatch and with each other. We have radios in the cars too, but this is the one that goes everywhere with you. Not pictured is the radio mic on its cord that you'll see clipped to an officer's shirt or shoulder epaulet; some officers add an earpiece (looking like the feds in Hollywood movies.) These radios just recently replaced the older, much heavier radios.
- Flashlight! Can't get stuck in the dark without a light. It's a rechargeable Streamlight Stinger flashlight, and it's reaaaaally bright.
- Monadnock baton, or sometimes an ASP (which is just a different brand.) It extends telescopically, and when done collapses into itself. These are now optional to carry per policy, but they make a great window break so almost everyone still carries it.
- All officers carry a GLOCK 22 .40 caliber handgun for a duty weapon, and hope that we never have to use it. (see Ask CCPD #1)
- Double handcuff case, with two (obviously, hence the double) sets of handcuffs. Some officers choose to use two separate single handcuff cases, either for easier access from either side or for comfort reasons.
- And lastly, we have the hot stuff, the pepper spray. Take my word for it, it's super hot. All officers are also exposed to pepper spray in training.
Other items we may have include a glove pouch for medical gloves (I always just used a cargo pants pocket); a tourniquet with holder (we all have these, just not always on the belt); and a plastic ring for holding the much larger flashlight available to us in the car.
"But what does it all weigh?" you ask? Wait, there's more....body armor! Officers are required to wear body armor, even in the miserable heat. Heat is less uncomfortable than a bullet, though. Some officers opt to wear suspenders under their uniform that attach to the duty belt and distribute some of the weight off the hips/back and onto the shoulders.
So is it all 25-30 pounds in total? I weighed the duty belt alone, and it weighed 139 pounds! We're super strong, huh? OK, fine.....there's a decimal in there, 13.9 pounds. I weighed myself at 181 pounds with no gear, and with all that you see here on....199.5 pounds. 18.5 pounds of stuff, so I guess we exaggerate sometimes. But we do carry it all for a 12 hour shift, or sprinting to catch a bad guy, or squeezed into a patrol car. We also have badges, pads of paper, backup weapons, knives, heavy duty boots, so maybe we could've made weight?
Hopefully this was enlightening and interesting, and the next time you ask an officer what it all weighs and he/she says 25-30 pounds, you can call us on it! We'll leave you with a video snippet of Chief Newlan (who wears a full uniform and duty belt every single day) explaining his gear at a recent speaking engagement. Send us your "Ask CCPD" questions on our website or our many social media platforms, and see you next Friday!
About the Author:
Corporal Philip Mullen is a nine year law enforcement veteran assigned to the Office of the Chief of Police and serves as Assistant Public Affairs Officer for the Cape Coral Police Department.
For the last 9 years, Corporal Mullen served as a Patrol Officer in our Patrol Bureau, and as a Field Training Officer, preparing new recruits for the rigors of police work over the past 5 years. Corporal Mullen is a member of the Cape Coral Police Department Honor Guard and has represented the Cape Coral Police Department across the United States. He is a recipient of two Lifesaving Awards and the department's highest honor, the Medal of Honor. Phil holds a Bachelor's Degree in Public Safety Administration from Edison State College.
CAPE CORAL POLICE DEPARTMENT | Public Affairs Office | 1100 Cultural Park Boulevard | Cape Coral, FL 33990 | (239) 242-3341