Easing the Pain of Equipment for Police Officers
Duty belt discomfort is a common complaint among uniformed police personnel. Pain in the low back, hip and pelvis can be caused by the weight of the duty belt, holster, firearms, handcuffs, baton and other equipment attached to the belt. Further aggravating the issue is the time spent sitting, standing or running and jumping over fences etc in the driver's seat of the patrol car.
Duty belts are intended to carry equipment to make it accessible while leaving you hands free. Your gear is an important piece of the job and must be carried on your body while working. Duty belt gear includes a handgun, handcuffs, flashlight, latex gloves, baton, radio and pepper spray canister and can weigh up to 20 pounds when completely loaded.
Inconvenience from wearing a duty belt is driven by the weight of equipment on the belt, the placement of those things against the body and the force exerted on the gear when seated in the patrol vehicle. Duty belts are commonly 2 - 2.5 inches wide and made of nylon or leather. The buckle can place uncomfortable weight on the front of the pelvis and abdomen when driving as well as sitting for long time.
Over the years your strain and pain increase with the amount of time spent in vehicles and heavier items carried on your belt. The addition of radios and extra handcuffs, handguns and extra magazines can add more weight to the belt. The belt itself is uneasy to wear. The added weight can make it worse.
Leather duty belts take years to break in. Patrol vehicle seats can be another factor in duty belt distress. Bolsters on the sides of the seats can create pressure on the sidearm and radio, which pushes the person forward, lessening the low back support. Worn vehicle cushions can fuel the uneasiness by enabling the person to sink lower into the middle of the seat.
Duty belt wearers should consider different options to reduce duty belt discomfort. Some options to consider would be:
Avoid Placing Objects on the Lumbar Spine: Handcuffs carried on the back of the belt may create back pain from consistent weight on the lower back while sitting in a vehicle. Although that may not be an issue for beat officials who patrol an area on foot, it can cause severe issues in vehicle-based “response” officials. Outside the vehicle, they can be dangerous in a fall, where the spine can be injured severely by the handcuffs.
Use Light & Compact Flashlights: Thinner and smaller lights are simpler to control and can be carried at all times. Long and thick flashlights can be uncomfortable on your belt and during movement. Flashlights also come in models that can be attached to your uniform.
Wear Police Duty Belt Suspenders: Suspenders are effective as they distribute the weight of the gear over the shoulders and chest rather than just on the waist. This means your belt doesn't need to be worn as tight, eliminating the pressure applied on the stomach and waist area. Our suspenders are the Best Duty Belt Suspenders that can be worn under your exterior armor or vests. This reduces the chance the suspenders can be used against you in an incident.
Lastly, taking care of your back yourself is important. It is suggested to go to gym and perform all exercises correctly and safely. This profession requires you to be in good shape. So, don't ever give up an opportunity to stretch. Consult your gym trainer or call the training unit and get some stretching advice. Take time to stretch and always stay safe.