4 steps to help get load bearing vests approved at your department

(Courtesy photo)
(Courtesy photo) (Marshfield PD)

Over the last few years, more and more officers have been requesting that their departments approve load bearing vests for their uniforms. While many departments have already made this transition, there are others that have been a bit more hesitant to change from their traditional uniform. With this in mind, we’ve put together 4 steps to help get load bearing vests approved at your department. 

Step 1: Show the Health Benefits LBVs Provide For Officers

One of the main reasons load bearing vest carriers have been so high in demand is because of the long-term health benefits they have for officers that wear them instead of a typical duty belt. To help the decision-makers at your department truly see the benefits, we recommend showing them the results from a research study conducted by the Mayo Health Clinic and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

In this study, the Eau Claire police department separated officers into 2 groups: those who were wearing a BlueStone Safety load bearing vest carrier, and those that kept all of their equipment on their duty belt. After 3 months, the officers who were wearing duty belts transitioned to BlueStone LBVs, and vice versa. After the 6 month study concluded, they found that officers wearing BlueStone LBVs had far less hip, lower back, and sciatic nerve pain. The full results of the study can be found here

A video detailing the research study can also be found here. Departments that provide their officers with custom load bearing vest carriers are being proactive to help reduce the injury and pain that officers may face while on duty. When an officer does have sciatic nerve pain from wearing a duty belt, the doctor will typically prescribe a load bearing vest carrier to relieve them of the pain. Supplying officers with BlueStone LBVs helps prevent the injury before it happens.

Step 2: Explain How the Department Benefits

When officers are wearing all of their heavy equipment on their duty belt, they tend to have hip, lower back, or sciatic nerve pain. These issues can result in officers needing to take time off for doctors appointments or to visit the chiropractor. When an officer needs to use sick time to cover these days off, another officer may need to be paid overtime to cover that shift. For the department, supplying officers with BlueStone LBVs can help alleviate some of these issues and may save them money in the long run.

Also, outfitting officers with load bearing vests shows that the department cares about the health and well-being of the officers working there. This is an incentive for officers to stay at the department for longer, and an extra reason for new officers to apply when you’re hiring. As an added benefit, when officers are comfortable on the job, instead of focusing on their back pain they can focus on providing the best level of service to their community as possible.

Step 3: Prove that BlueStone LBVs Provide a Uniform Look

One of the biggest concerns from departments is that load bearing vests will look too militaristic, and will ruin their Class A, uniform look. We recommend showing them some pictures of BlueStone Safety custom load bearing vests to change their mind. BlueStone’s custom LBVs provide your department with a clean, uniform look without looking tactical or militaristic. The LBVs blend in with your department’s uniform shirt to create a clean look, and they offer sewn on pouches instead of molle to avoid looking militaristic. A wide range of custom load bearing vests can be found on their website here

Step 4: Order a Trial and Evaluation Custom LBV

Finally, the last step to getting a custom load bearing vest approved for your department usually involves getting a vest directly in front of the Chief or Sheriff. To do this, there are a few options. The best way to get full approval is to order a BlueStone custom load bearing vest with the exact look and specifications that your department desires. With this method, the vest that you show to your Chief is exactly what they want, with the pockets and layout how they want it to be. For a discount on the order of your first trial and evaluation LBV, simply contact a BlueStone Safety product specialist at From there, they can answer any questions you may have and assist you with placing your order.


While some departments may not have transitioned to load bearing vest carriers yet, providing them with this information is a big step that showcases the many benefits they provide. We wish you the best of luck presenting this information and getting load bearing vests approved at your department. Stay safe out there. For more information, or to order a BlueStone Safety custom load bearing vest carrier, please visit:

About BlueStone Safety: 
BlueStone Safety Products is a state-of-the-art defense company that manufactures custom load bearing vests / outer carriers for LE.  Mayo Health Clinic and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire completed a research study with the Eau Claire Police Department, and concluded that wearing BlueStone load bearing vests effectively reduced officers’ lower back, sciatic, and hip pain; Eau Claire then chose BlueStone to be their direct manufacturer.  You can find this case study on our website.

BlueStone takes great pride working with some of the finest Sheriffs and Chiefs across our nation. No matter your department size, we'll assist you.  We specialize in keeping officers in good health, good posture, and pain free while on the job.

Our vests give officers a uniform look, made to the Chief's or Sheriff's exact specifications.  If you can dream it we can make it;  all of our vests are proudly made in the USA (not overseas), and made custom to each officer's measurements. BlueStone vests are a long-term investment to protect your officers from poor physical health, keeping our officers healthy and able to support their communities.

We also offer our brand of multiple armor threat levels.

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