The police duty belt contains the equipment that a police or security officer must carry with them at all times. These items vary by municipality, but generally include handcuffs, a police flashlight, radio, a baton, a handgun and ammunition and pepper spray, mace or other chemical spray. Each of the items carried on the police officer's duty belt is a high performance, heavy duty piece of potentially lifesaving equipment.
DEMANDING JOB, HIGH PERFORMANCE EQUIPMENT
The police officer is in a high stress job that can become dangerous at a moments notice. When we think of the needs of a police officer, we often think of the defensive weapons they carry, such as a handgun or a baton. While these items do make up an integral part of the high performance duty belt, they are certainly not the only part.
It is important then that the officer have the highest quality, reliable equipment. By carrying a tactical flashlight in the duty belt, as well as extra batteries and a replacement bulb, the officer can be secure in knowing that the flashlight that he has will work when the need arises. In fact, most police officer's carry more than one flashlight, often one battery operated and one rechargeable police flashlight.
THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
The equipment that a police officer carries on his duty belt can save his life. With few exceptions, the gear that is carried is decided by the municipality where the officer is employed. Most duty belts will consist of a handgun and holster, additional ammunition, a tactical flashlight, a radio and holster, handcuffs, and a baton. In addition, some municipalities carry chemical sprays, such as pepper spray or mace, and some carry battery powered stunning devices.
Most officers will also carry their own small notebooks and ink pen, and may also carry a cell phone. The decision on what an officer carries with him in the field must balance the needs of keeping the officer safe and being realistic in what the officer can actually carry. It is always a judgment call when deciding what should be carried and what should be left off the belt.
The handgun and holster, radio, and tactical flashlight are not lightweight items, but heavy duty, high performance equipment. While it is always advisable to be over prepared for any situation, particularly in a high pressure situation such as law enforcement, it is not always possible. A police duty belt that weighs so much that it fatigues the police officer, shifts around when he runs after a suspect, or does not allow free movement is more of a hinderer than a help.
All of the equipment that is carried by the police officer on his duty belt must be evenly distributed across the belt so that it is less likely to shift or cause back strain. The officer becomes accustomed to the location of each of the tools located on his belt and they become an extension of his hands. The duty belt is an important and lifesaving piece of equipment, possibly the most important part of the police officer's uniform.
~Ben Anton, 2008