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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cop Series--What, Exactly, is Hanging on that Belt?

When I wrote my very first cop character in my first inspirational suspense manuscript, I realized that I had no idea what kinds of guns police officers carry, let alone what all that stuff was that they carry on their belts. Handcuffs were a given, but what else was there?

Below is a list of what would likely be found hanging on a police officer’s duty belt. If anything on the list is an “agency choice,” (meaning, not all law enforcement organizations use them) I’ve noted that by saying depends on agency. Different police departments have different requirements from state to state, and even from county to county. Equipment used in my county isn’t necessarily something an officer in another state would carry. (If the police department or sheriff’s office in your book is fictional, you can make your own choices, although you’d do well to investigate law enforcement in your particular state.)

To see what this equipment looks like, I would recommend searching internet law enforcement supply stores. Here are a few:


The Duty Belt

The duty belt is black leather, about 3 ½ inches wide. It goes around the waist and attaches to the officer’s pants belt (called a Garrison Belt) with what are called belt keepers. These are loops that keep the duty belt in place so it doesn’t fall off in a chase, or doesn’t pull up when a gun is yanked from the holster.

All the equipment is carried in leather/nylon/etc. holders. Those holders have loops on the back of them, so the officer can just slide them onto to the duty belt. The order in which the items on place on the belt is up to the officer, but handcuffs are usually on the back, the gun on the right or the left, depending on the whether the officer is right-handed or left-handed, and most of the deputies I’ve seen carry their phone on the front of the belt.

What Hangs on that Duty Belt?

Semi-automatic pistol: (The kind depends on the agency. We’ll cover general weapons in a future article.)

Magazines: These hold ammunition. Usually two.

OC Spray (also called pepper spray or capsicum spray): Depends on agency.

Handcuffs: Many officers carry two sets, and double leather handcuff cases are available.

Taser (otherwise known as a stun gun): Depends on agency. We’ll cover general weapons in a future article.

Expandable Baton: Depends on agency.

Small Flashlight: Some officers carry this, some don’t.

Case with Latex Gloves: Some officers carry this, some don’t. One deputy told me that he carries his in a pocket in his leather boots.

Radio: The radio is on the belt, the receiver is on the shoulder.

Cell Phone


Blogger Julie Dearyan said...

Enjoyed the post! I'll definitely be re-reading this when I need this info.

3:59 PM  

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