POLICE Magazine

DEC 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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T H E T H I N G S Y O U C A R R Y 34 POLICE DECEMBER 2018 olice officers across America carry on their person and in their "go bags" myriad personal items that were not issued by their departments. ese items may be symbolic, sentimental, personal, practical, or tactical. We wanted to find out what you carry, so POLICE Magazine did an informal— and completely unscientific—survey of active-duty and retired officers asking, "What are some of the personal items that you carried on duty and what is some of the personally owned gear you use on the job?" We spoke with officers on all points on the compass rose—from the scorching hot deserts in the Southwest to the bitterly cold areas up on the Canadian border. We found that some of the things car- ried by officers in the cold winters of Min- nesota make no sense for officers in Flor- ida—and vice-versa. However, we also got some surprisingly similar responses from all over the country, from officers in places like Alaska, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, Vir- ginia, Washington, and Wyoming. THE PERSONAL THINGS Some of the personal objects officers reported carrying were sentimental in nature. Among the common responses were a pocket Bible, a copy of the United States Constitution, a medallion bearing the image of Saint Christopher, a chal- lenge coin, a wristband bearing the name and badge num- ber of a fallen colleague, and similar objects. Others carried highly personal items—the most com- mon being a photo of the officer's family, either in their wallet or tucked into the brim of their uniform hat. One officer said that he carries a plas- tic heart one of his daughters made for him, adding that in the pocket of his trauma plate he carries a playing card on which his other daughter had embedded a jewel and hand-written the word "dad." Other items were practical in nature, with a couple officers saying they car- ried backup reading glasses in case their prescription glasses were broken in an altercation. Many officers also reported carrying sunglasses. Some officers carried items that helped them keep an even keel on patrol. One retired officer said that he carried a handkerchief "because you are the first responder for you." "I discovered that chewing gum helped me keep calm, so I always had a couple packs of gum in my pocket," an- other officer said. "I even had backup gum in my car blow-out-bag." THE PRACTICAL THINGS None of the respondents from warm-weather states said they carried pocket warmers, but most of the officers in the cold-weather regions said they did so from October though April. A good number of officers said that they wear para-cord bracelets, which are a mashup of sentimental and practical. ey bear a in Blue Line or another inherent message, but also can be unwound and used as a length of 300-pound- test rope. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES SOME OF THE PERSONAL OBJECTS OFFICERS REPORT CARRYING ON DUTY ARE SENTIMENTAL IN NATURE, WHILE OTHERS CARRY HIGHLY PERSONAL ITEMS. MOST—IF NOT ALL—SAID THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE "EXTRA STUFF" THAT THEY CARRY WAS DUTY GEAR THAT WAS PERSONALLY PURCHASED BECAUSE THE DEPARTMENT DID NOT ISSUE IT. DOUG WYLLIE P

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