From handcuffs and radios to firearms and batons, police use a variety of equipment to protect and serve. Do you think you can identify all their equipment? We'll see about that! Even if you've watched every single episode of "Cops," the tools police use are as diverse as the cases they work. We think even career law enforcement officials may have to think to recall the names and purposes of their - sometimes futuristic-looking - equipment. Dashcams, bulletproof vests and riot shields: It's no wonder there are so many police dramas on TV with all this equipment to feature!
For police officers, every day on the job is different. When they put on their uniform, they have no idea what challenges they may face. In order to be ready for anything, police have a wide array of equipment at their disposal. Hours of training and on-the-job experience means they know how to use the police equipment to handle any situation. From dealing with intoxicated drivers to securing the scene of an accident, police equipment helps law enforcement officials do their job efficiently and effectively.
Can you recognize this police equipment? Take this quiz to see if you know the difference between a dashcam and a bodycam. Along the way, you'll learn fascinating facts guaranteed to help you rock any future police equipment trivia questions!
Police use Breathalyzers to determine a person's blood alcohol content (BAC). Breathalyzer is actually a trademarked name, but it is commonly used to refer to any device that measures BAC from a breath sample. Since Breathalyzers only provide an estimation of a person's BAC, police often request blood analysis to be used in court.
In the United States, a wheel clamp or parking boot is often referred to as a "Denver boot." Police use this device to prevent illegally parked motor vehicles from moving.
Without a doubt a highly important piece of equipment, the police uniform is easily recognizable and allows officers to establish a visual presence before even saying a word. Across the country and around the world, police uniforms vary greatly. Navy blue became a popular color choice due to the fact it's easy to clean and doesn't show stains like a lighter color might.
Since the Middle Ages, people have worn badges as symbols of their place in society. Today, police officers wear badges as a visual representation of their legal authority. Upon graduating from the police academy, new officers receive their badge. In many jurisdictions, even police dogs wear badges.
On a day-to-day basis, police most often wear soft bulletproof vests underneath their uniforms. Police tactical units opt for ballistic vests which have a metal or ceramic plate inserted into the soft vest for additional protection. The tightly woven layers of fiber making up the vest slow down, deform and spread out the force of a bullet.
In 1908, the Detroit Police Department became the first to utilize motorcycles. The popularity of motorcycles for law enforcement and military purposes grew during WWI when Harley-Davidson sent nearly 20,000 motorcycles overseas to help the war effort. Then and today, motorcycles allow for increased responsiveness and maneuverability. Motor patrol officers are able to more easily investigate traffic-related incidents in comparison to four-wheeled police vehicles.
In a pouch on their duty belt, police generally carry at least one pair of disposable gloves. From administering first aid to documenting a crime scene, disposable gloves have a multitude of uses.
Multi-tools may not be standard issue equipment, but many police officers elect to carry one on their duty belt. Useful for a variety of scenarios, a multi-tool's features can include pliers, wire cutters, a saw, spring-action scissors, a metal file and screwdriver to name a few.
Because sudden cardiac arrest claims so many lives every year, police have begun carrying automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in their squad cars. A person's chance of survival dramatically decreases with each minute they do not receive defibrillation following cardiac arrest. That's why it's vital first responders have AEDs to perform this potentially life -saving procedure.
Yet another important item found on a police officer's duty belt is a key holder. To keep multiple keys from making too much noise, police often utilize a silent key holder which goes around the keys and snaps shut to keep them in place.
The handheld transceiver, or two-way radios, has long been a fixture in police duty. In fact, American police departments have been using handheld transceivers since the 1930s. Unlike a broadcast receiver which only receives content, a two-way radio is able to both send and receive communication.
Perhaps one of the most important items on a police officer's duty belt, a handgun holster allows the officer to store and carry a firearm safely while still permitting easy access in the event it is needed. Many police-issue handgun holsters have a strap over the top of the holster to prevent the weapon from falling out and keep any unwanted person from grabbing it.
Although primarily used for ceremonial purposes today, horses have a long history in law enforcement and continue to be utilized in modern times. Mounted police often oversee crowded events since from their high vantage point they have greater visibility. One of the most famous mounted police units is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or "Mounties."
Even police who primarily work during daylight hours carry a flashlight on their duty belt. Some police elect to carry larger flashlights, which can double as a weapon if needed. Other officers prefer smaller flashlights, some of which can be mounted on their handguns.
Perhaps the most iconic police equipment, officers frequently utilize handcuffs. In fact, many police officers carry several pairs of handcuffs in case they need to subdue multiple suspects before backup arrives. Typically made of steel, the locks on handcuffs are nearly impossible to pick.
Many police departments issue Glock pistols as part of their standard duty police equipment. A semi-automatic pistol, police have used Glock handguns since the early 1980s. The brand is known for its reliability, accuracy and minimal weight.
In addition to a siren, police cars are equipped with flashing lights. Police use their emergency lighting to warn people of hazards, indicate they want a driver to pull over and communicate the urgency of their journey. In the United States, blue emergency lights are reserved for law enforcement.
In addition to a loaded firearm, police officers carry extra magazines - filled with bullets - on their duty belt. This pouch makes them easily accessible in the event the officer needs to reload.
A radar, or speed, gun measures how fast an object is moving. In order to enforce speed limits, police use radar guns to track the speed of moving vehicles. Police utilize handheld radar guns while stationary as well as moving radar which allows them to measure speed while they themselves are in motion.
There can be a lot of variety among police vehicles, even in a single department, but one feature they all have in common is a spotlight. Spotlights allow police to see inside vehicles they've pulled over at night. Newer spotlights can even penetrate dark window tint on car windows.
Police departments install dashcams, or dashboard cameras, inside their vehicles to record traffic stops and car chases. The footage can be valuable evidence in court. Some dashcams do not activate until the police vehicle's emergency lights or sirens turn on.
Since it's vital for officers to have their hands free to perform their jobs, the majority of a police officer's most important tools are stored on the duty belt. Typically made from either nylon or leather, duty belts store and display police equipment such as the firearm, handcuffs, flashlight and radio. A fully-loaded duty belt can weigh 20 lbs.
Officially known as a tire deflation device, a spike strip is used to slow down or stop a moving vehicle by puncturing its tires. The strip is made of upward pointing metal barbs that can be as long as 3 inches. Because they can be dangerous to set up, remotely deployable spike strips have been invented.
Often installed in collision-prone intersections, red light cameras photograph vehicles that enter an intersection after the traffic light has turned red. To record the infraction for later prosecution, the camera takes a picture of the vehicle's rear license plate. Before the driver is issued a ticket, a police officer reviews the footage to ensure a traffic violation actually occurred.
Intended as a non-lethal alternative, police most commonly use rubber bullets for riot control. They can be fired from standard firearms as well as riot-specific guns. Rubbers bullet may be considered "non-lethal," but they still cause bodily injury ranging from bruises and abrasions to bone fractures and internal bleeding. In a few cases, being struck with a rubber bullet has resulted in death.
In their early days, it took a team of strong men to operate a battering ram. Today, modern battering rams require just one or two people due to technical enhancements that magnify momentum. Police utilize battering rams when speed of entry, such as in hostage situations or stealth operations, is more important than preventing property damage.
Many police departments have unmarked cars as part of their official police vehicle fleet. Frequently, police utilize unmarked cars for traffic enforcement. Often, police detectives opt for unmarked cars versus the well-known and easily identifiable squad car.
Police often use barricade tape to preserve a crime scene. The brightly colored tape lets the public know the area it encloses is off limits. Sturdier than in looks, barricade tape is made with tear-proof plastic materials.
As their name suggests, riot shields are generally used in riots situations when police are trying to disperse an unruly crowd. A typical riot shield is tall enough to cover an average-sized person from head to knees. In addition to protection from thrown objects and non-ballistic weapons, riot shield can be used to physically push back rioters.
Also known as a tether, defendants placed under house arrest are often required to wear ankle monitors. The ankle monitor is programmed to notify police if the wearer moves outside a designated range. Some defendants have attempted to remove their ankle monitors, but the devices are extremely durable and resistant to tampering. Police are alerted if the wearer tries to cut the band or slip off the device.
Like rubber bullets, tear gas is considered a non-lethal weapon and is most frequently utilized for riot control. Tear gas attacks the nerve of the lacrimal gland, forcing it to produce tears. While international treaties prohibit the use of chemical weapons such as tear gas in warfare, international law does not bind police from using it.
Prisoners wear this physical restraint which consists of a chain around the waist that is connected to handcuffs. To prevent the prisoner from running, law enforcement officials sometimes use a longer chain to connect ankle restraints.
A more recent addition to police equipment, tasers are becoming more popular due to their ability to subdue a person without causing lasting physical harm. Police tasers can travel approximately 15-25 feet. Taser probes are able to penetrate most articles of clothing and emit an initial charge of up to 50,000 volts. However, by the time the electric shock reaches the intended person, it has usually diminished to around 1,800 volts.
One of the oldest pieces of police equipment, police batons are widely used around the world. Weighing several pounds and extending up to 26 inches in length, batons are essential for crowd control, self-defense and breaking windows.
A police van is used to transport more suspects, prisoners or officers than a typical squad car can hold. The word van is short for caravan, our a group of travellers journeying together.
Contrary to what you might think, pepper spray and tear gas are not the same. Pepper spray is made from the active compound in peppers: capsicin. While tear gas may contain a variant of capsicin, it is often a blend of several chemicals. Pepper spray is stored and discharged from an aerosol can while tear gas is often dispersed from a grenade.
Similar to traditional handcuffs, PlastiCuffs, or plastic handcuffs, are a physical restraint. Due to their primary material, PlastiCuffs are cheap and easy to manufacture. Police use plastic handcuffs in situations where many arrests are made in a short amount of time. Unlike traditional handcuffs, PlastiCuffs are much more vulnerable to breakage and unlawful removal.
Squad cars are decked out with features to help police perform their duties safely and to the best of their ability. In addition to rooftop flashing lights and a siren, squad cars also have reinforced bumpers and floodlights. Vehicle manufacturers, like General Motors, Ford and Dodge, produce police-specific vehicles that offer higher durability and increased speed capabilities.
As departments move toward the future of policing, some have elected to invest in thermal imaging cameras. Their primary function is to identify heat sources and do so by converting infrared radiation to visible light. From locating fleeing suspects to finding the source of a fire, thermal imaging cameras have a variety of uses.
Police often wear body cameras to more easily gather evidence at a crime scene as well as record their interactions with civilians. Like dashcams, some body cameras begin recording when an officer initiates a certain procedure. While body cameras vary greatly depending on the manufacturer and police department, some features include infrared, night vision and HD quality. Weighing anywhere from 2 ounces to 5 ounces, body cameras are lightweight so as not to restrict the officer in any way.