5 investments worth every penny for female officers
From undershirts to handgun grip modifications, there are some simple ways to improve comfort and safety on patrol
This article is being updated with suggestions from Police1 readers. Make sure to keep reading for more female cop investments worth every penny and to submit your own suggestions at the end of the article. Then check out 7 investments worth every penny for law enforcement and 7 investments worth every penny for SWAT officers.
When Police1 asked me about some suggestions for great gear investments for female officers, I wanted to ask if I could write a mini-book instead of an article. As I started to compile my list, I thought about what would have saved me frustration, time and money early on in my police career.
I know the year is 2021 and we all understand that male and female officers perform the same equal tasks every day, but this list targets a few specific product suggestions for women in law enforcement. Here are five items that should be helpful straight out of the lot.
1. BODY ARMOR
Many female cops wear a “male cut” of body armor. Some wear it by choice, while others are not given the option.
If you are purchasing your own body armor, make sure to ask many questions when being fitted. Ask about the pros and cons. Take time to determine how you want and need the vest to fit your body. If your department does supply your body armor and you decide you want a “female fit” but they do not give you the option, educate them on the benefits of the vest you need and also on basic anatomical differences.
Females, in general, tend to have different shaped torsos than males. While the inventor of Kevlar was female (thank you, Stephanie Louis Kwolek) we did not always have body armor that would best fit most female torsos, but now we do (and have for a while). What about uniform pants? Now that is a completely different story…
Police1 resource: How to buy body armor eBook
Learn key steps for product selection, purchasing and implementation
This Police1 guide to buying body armor – whether you are leading a body armor purchase for the first time or are an experienced purchasing decision-maker – is a starting point for the several months or more purchasing process.
2. HANDGUN GRIP MODIFICATIONS
Yes, it is an additional cost for your firearm, but definitely worth it. Females, in general, tend to have a smaller grip of the hand than males, hence the reason for inclusion here.
During one of my first sessions at the police firearms range, the female recruits were told they must pay extra money to have a special grip put on their weapon. I remember thinking to myself “well that sucks,” but after shooting a non-modified weapon then shooting my modified weapon, I was thankful for it.
Later in the academy, two of my smaller statured male classmates asked to have the same grip.
Police1 resource: How to equip and train female officers for shooting success
3. BOOT INSERTS
Good shoe/boot inserts go a long way to help maintain a healthy posture and provide arch support. When you are on your feet a lot, as is the case in law enforcement, that has negative effects on your entire body, even many years into the future. Females, in general, tend to have thinner and smaller bones than males, so extra cushioning is important. For those of you who plan to have kids or already have, maintaining lower back health is critical and it starts with the feet.
Police1 resource: 4 police boot buying considerations
Chafing on the chest is a thing, especially when you have a sports bra rubbing against the skin from the pressure of the vest and/or plates for extended periods of time and in extreme heat. Females, in general, tend to chafe more in the chest area than males. Purchasing and wearing an undershirt made of good quality abrasion-resistant fabric will help to reduce chafing in the boob area. (Thanks Officer G.E. for making sure I added this one!)
5. EXPENDABLE GO-BAG
This is a good thing to have for anyone you might meet who needs it, but for the purposes of this article, I’ll talk about it for human trafficking victims, prostitutes and runaways. Many victims from these groups feel more comfortable talking with female officers than male officers. Of course, this is not always the case, but in general, it tends to be that way. Never pass on the opportunity to make a difference here. Put together some simple drawstring bags that have a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, a bottle of water, feminine pads and tampons, shampoo and conditioner, body wash and crackers. You can use these bags as you begin to build relationships in your patrol area and let some of these victims know that you are in-tune with the basic items they might need.
You have read in general a lot in this article because I mean it. We all know some people are the opposite of “in general” statements, which helps to make this world awesome. There are so many more tips I could share and will save those for another time. Train on!
Police1 reader suggestions
Bigfoot Gun Belt for any kind of duty carry. The steel core keeps it from warping the leather.
Uniform pants with ankle to ankle zippers! I have had them for the past two years and wouldn’t want to live without them now as I no longer have to take off my belt to go to the bathroom. My agency issues jumpsuits to patrol officers and we purchase our jumpsuits from Sound Uniform Solutions. Ankle to ankle zippers are an option when ordering. The jumpsuits are tailored to each officer and are expensive, around $450 each, and come in all-weather (lined with water-resistant fabric), summer weight or winter weight (fleece lined). For women who wear regular uniform pants, a long zipper (twice the length of inseam) could be added to the inside seam of any pants by an alterations shop. It doesn’t chafe or irritate my legs at all and is so nice to have!
1. Extra keepers to keep belt in place when using the restroom. There’s not enough time to take everything off. 2. Rubber updo donut bun clip from Walmart is a must to keep hair in a small tight bun for safety.
Quality non-cotton padded socks. Thorlos has some good ones. Spend the money and they last a very long time. Also, an extra set of underclothes and socks, just in case.
Belts for open-carry detectives.
A women’s beanie or hat with a ponytail/bun opening (Turtle Fur is a good brand). Women’s crew ribbed tank tops for summertime (Target has some for $8). Women’s L/S shirt and tights for cold weather (Costco has some good ones).
- High-quality compression socks.
- A duty belt made for women. It has a curve at the small of the back that prevents bunching and reduces the pain of your holster (and pistol) digging into your hips.
A “go-bag” for yourself containing Tylenol, contact lens case (if applicable), saline solution (travel size), chapstick, a couple of Band-Aids, a small tube of Neosporin, a couple of alcohol wipes, a small tube of body lotion, emery board, etc. Also layers (Cuddl Duds) for cooler weather. Wool socks/hose are also excellent choices for keeping warm!
Recently I started using the new suspenders offered by Blauer. They have been wonderful in relieving my lower back pain. I’ve been an officer for 16 years and this has been one of my best purchases.
Bra!!! It’s hard to find a bra that is comfortable under body armor.
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