Cops love their gadgets. Usually, police departments provide all the equipment officers need. Some departments allot a uniform allowance (paid once or twice a year).  It’s never enough. Officers spend boatloads of their own money purchasing equipment that enhances their safety, comfort or cool quotient.

Case(s) in point:
Body armor air conditioning.  Wearing a ballistic vest on a hot day sucks. No way around it. Imagine the layers; a wool uniform shirt on top, a ballistic vest, a sweat-soaked t-shirt next to your skin. Bonus if you’re a woman– add another layer for the bra. Now picture yourself in Albuquerque or Phoenix, or in a little old lady’s home where the thermostat is set to a balmy 97 degrees. Makes you want to go right on out and sign up, no?  The patrol car becomes your sanctuary. Crank the a/c and feel the heat ripple off your body as the cool air–oh, wait. Nope. Too many layers.  So the kind folk at CoolCop devised a hose that connects to the car’s air vent on one end and attaches the other end to the front of the officer’s ballistic vest then funnels cool air under the vest. Reminiscent of being hooked up to a vacuum hose, it looks geekier than all get-out, but darn if it doesn’t feel great.

Flashlights.  The first flashlight issued to me could have been used by Nancy Drew. Over the years I’ve accumulated Maglites, Streamlights, full size, pocket-size, rechargeable, battery-powered, lights for my guns, and even a small light that attached under the flap of my uniform pocket.  Let’s face it. Cops hate being left in the dark.

Guns. This being a blog and not a dissertation, I’m skipping this. Suffice it to say, guns are the cops ultimate gadget. As such, yeah, just about every single cop has at least one personal handgun. Some could arm a small nation.

Pens. We buy them by the bagful and give them out like candy at Halloween. Some of the people we request signatures from have cooties the likes of which we just don’t want. Keep the pen. Consider it our gift to you.

Handcuffs. The Peerless Handcuff Company is the go-to company for cuffs. Their swing-through arm revolutionized restraints and law enforcement has been using their products for a hundred years. Every officer is issued a set of handcuffs, but sometimes, crooks come in matching sets. Thus, it is the rare officer who only carries a single pair. For variety, Peerless has hinged cuffs, chained cuffs, leg restraints, waist restraints, oversized, and for the fashion conscious, colors. Yes, you too can own pink handcuffs.

The list goes on and presents myriad opportunities to customize your character’s quirks. Maybe your character cherishes something handed down from one generation to another, eschewing the modern version. An officer’s choice of equipment is personal and revealing. What tools do your characters carry?

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