Nonlethal Equipment: What’s Your Favorite and Why?

Most cops will say that their favorite piece of equipment is their gun, but when you ask about their favorite nonlethal piece of equipment, the answers are widely varied. From flashlights to riot shields to handcuffs to holsters, many are very particular about the style and brand of everything on their equipment list and tend to favor some items over others.

What’s your favorite nonlethal piece of equipment and why?

Nonlethal Weapons

For many, nonlethal weapons top the list when it comes to naming favorites. Few choose the baton as their number one pick, but many like their tasers as a first line of defense.

Says one officer: “If a piece of equipment can help me to subdue someone with nonlethal force reliably and safely, then that’s always going to be my nonlethal piece of choice.”

For some, nonlethal weapons are even preferred over lethal weapons. One officer with a decade on the force said: “I would say that a stun gun is going to be my favorite piece of equipment in any situation. Stopping someone from harming themselves or someone else without permanently harming them just makes sense.”

The officer went onto say: “I’ll tell you one I hate, though, pepper spray. That stuff is nasty, and it just gets everywhere no matter how careful you are with it. If I can avoid that stuff altogether, I will, every day of the week.”

Protection Gear

A number of officers chose protection gear as their favorite equipment.

One officer cited his bulletproof vest as his favorite piece of equipment. “It saved my life on more than one occasion. I hated wearing it at first, but after it came in handy, I have no problem with it at all.”

Another officer likes her riot gear. “When you’ve got your riot shield up and your helmet on, it can be cumbersome but it really helps you to get through a crowd or an otherwise unprotected area and do what you need to do.”

Uniform Gear

Many have a favorite pair of gloves that allows them to manipulate weapons easily without compromising accuracy or speed, and others have a favorite flashlight that stands up to constant use without requiring frequent battery changes and does a good job at shining strong directed light.

For one officer, the holster for his backup gun is his favorite item. “My wife had it made for me special. It’s leather and engraved with the brand from our family’s ranch. It’s a piece of home when I’m on the job and away from the family.”

Others cited a good set of handcuffs as their favorite nonlethal piece of equipment. Said one officer: “It’s a ‘better to have it and not want it than to want it and not have it’ scenario, in my opinion. When you need an extra pair of cuffs, you don’t want to have to wait for someone to hand you theirs. Better to keep an extra set on you if you’re going to a call.”

What’s your favorite piece of nonlethal equipment?


This article was originally published by James E. Morrison, retired Chicago Police Officer and Employee Assistance Program Treatment Consultant for Law Enforcement at American Addiction Centers, on LinkedIn.

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