Police officers spend approximately 50 percent of their shift inside a cramped patrol vehicle conducting tasks such as patrolling, laptop use, and paper work. Musculoskeletal injuries are reported to be high among the law enforcement community with low back pain being the most common reported. Oklahoma State University researchers questioned the duty gear carriage methods and searched for alternative methods of carrying heavy and bulky equipment. The current high-gloss leather duty belt weighs up to 10 pounds with a bulk that fails to accommodate the seat bolsters resulting in an awkward seated posture for the officers.
Removing heavy and rigid items of the duty belt with the intention of placing them in stronger parts of the body such as the trunk or leg was found to increase comfort and ability to move while seated. With increasing number of female officers, it is imperative to consider gender differences in uniform needs. Thus, providing multiple options for equipment carriage (thigh holster and tactical vest) rather than a singular approach (duty belt) was found to be desirable from officers’ perspective.
This work is a result of NIFA funded NC-170 Multi-State Research Project: Personal Protective Technologies for Current and Emerging Occupational and Environmental Hazards.
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