There Are Over 100 Standard Issue Police Equipment Items. Can You Name More Than 11?

EMPLOYMENT

Amanda Monell

7 Min Quiz

Image: chictype / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Whenever you go on a trip, there's one group of people you want to make sure are around yet not around at the same time: the police. Just think about it; if you're hopping on a plane to head to places unknown, what usually happens while you're waiting to be checked out by customs? A K-9 unit is patrolling the lines, keeping passengers safe by sniffing out illicit drugs or explosives. Let's say you're on the road touring America; it's always a relief to see police cruisers patrolling the area, making sure the streets are safe. After seeing your favorite sports team win, it's usually a police officer who helps everyone leave the venue in one piece. And if worse comes to worst and you get a flat tire and are stuck on a highway, a police officer may even stop and offer some roadside assistance. All in all, police officers have a ton of jobs and very little time with which to do them all.

And just like your local handyman, police officers have plenty of tools to get their jobs done every day. We've pulled together some of the typical gear you'd find in a police officer's arsenal. Let's see if you can guess more than 11 of them!


What chemical will cause nausea-induced coughing and will temporarily blind a suspect?

If you ever question a police officer's mettle, you should check out their pepper-spray training; recruits are required to run an obstacle course after getting sprayed with it. It helps them resist the pain in case tables are turned on them in the field.

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In the Wild West, you could always ID the sheriff by the star pinned to his chest. What is this called?

If you're cautious about the officer you're interacting with, don't hesitate to look at their badges. Each city has a specific design, with a job title, jurisdiction, badge number and either a city or state seal on them.

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Every uniform starts as a blank canvas. What items made of colored material are used to distinguish officers from one another?

Patches are critical to a police officer's uniform for many different reasons. Patches help civilians identify that the officer is a police officer as well as showing rank and jurisdiction.

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What would an officer use to hold their gun when it isn't in use?

There are several types of holsters out there, but there's one type for women that gives them an additional place to conceal their guns. The Flashbang holster attaches to the bra, and if trouble should arise, users can draw and fire in under two seconds.

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It's late at night and you've been pulled over by the authorities for speeding. What would they use to search the area before approaching your car?

In addition to inspecting the area before getting out of their vehicle, the spotlight mounted on a police officer's car adds a little security; the brightness of the light makes it hard for motorists to see who they're talking to.

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Everyone hates speed traps. What do police use to monitor a car's speed?

In the past, radar guns were used by law enforcement officials to track speeds; however, a laser has the science down pat. With a careful aim, the gun can measure the speed of a vehicle in seconds from varying distances.

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Which police vehicle is used most commonly on busy streets?

Traditionally, when it came to purchasing police vehicles, sedans were the primary choice because of their bigger engines. However, today, there are many different vehicles employed for various jobs and terrains.

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Ahh! There's an emergency! What do police officers usually turn on to alert civilians that they need to get out of their way?

If you ever hear someone talking about cherries and blueberries in terms of police, don't get offended; it's a description of the red-and-blue lights on the tops of police vehicles.

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It's a dark night and you've gotten into a nasty accident. What would an officer use to alert other drivers?

There are several different road flares on the market; however, many still consider a traditional road flare the best to use. With a flint on the lid, these lights are easy to use and burn between 15 and 30 minutes, giving everyone time to recover.

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There's a crowd forming at a protest. What would a law enforcement officer use to make their voices heard?

Megaphones are used in many different occupations. Unlike cheerleaders who use their megaphones to amp up a crowd, police officers will use them to subdue them. A Galls Deluxe StreetThunder Megaphone can project the voice up to 900 feet (or the distance of three football fields).

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When you get pulled over for a speeding ticket, an officer will often say that they're going to run your plates. What are they using to do this?

If you ever wonder why it takes so long for a police officer to "run your plates" through the system for past infractions, it isn't because of a lagging machine. Many officers use this time to sweat their speeders out in case they committed other crimes.

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What piece of police equipment was known as a billy club?

When police first started to use batons, they were rigid wood with a notched handle, which could be cumbersome. Today's batons are expandable, making them compact to fit on an officer's belt. In certain instances, they expand to over two feet long.

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While performing his amazing magic tricks, Harry Houdini relied on one of these to help get out of handcuffs. What are we thinking of?

When it comes to handcuff keys, police officers never want it to look like a prominent item on their person. Many handcuff keys look exactly like clicker pens, which makes carrying them in their breast pocket hard for suspects to obtain.

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It's the moment of truth. You've been pulled over and you see the officer coming up to hopefully issue only a warning. What are they using to hold their ticket on?

A policeman's citation holder has many functions. The first is to provide a flat surface for the officer to write on. It also comes with a container underneath it to store written tickets, unissued tickets and extra pens.

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What kind of container is used to store a policeperson's gear in their car?

When it comes to patrolling, an officer would be lost without their organizer. It's used to store citation holders, pads, pens, utility knives, protective eye gear and most importantly, a bottle of water.

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In order to preserve evidence, officers will often wear these. What are we thinking of?

Why are nitrile gloves the preferred disposable gloves among law enforcement professionals? Nitrile is a versatile material that is heavy-duty, making it harder to tear, and it's hypoallergenic, so everyone can use them.

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In addition to police officers, civilians will wear these to shelter their eyes from the sun. Which of these items are we talking about?

The reason why police wear sunglasses is two-fold: the first is to shield their eyes from the sun, but the second is a little devious. Similarly to poker players, police will wear dark or reflective lenses to hide their facial expressions from suspects.

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When you need to cross the street at a festival, you'll see officers wearing these items to stick out to civilians. What piece of apparel is it?

Traffic safety vests aren't just used by police; however, they have the most top-of-the-line ones. In addition to its bright yellow color, many police traffic safety vests have reflective tape and pockets.

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What kind of hat is usually worn during formal ceremonies?

Even though some officers will wear their eight-point duty hats every day, it isn't necessary for the uniform. However, whenever a police officer has fallen, everyone wears their hats, complete with badges and regalia.

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If you have many perpetrators to cuff, you may see an officer use some of these. What are we thinking of?

Flexible restraints come in many different forms. One of the most efficient versions is the double-cuffed flexible restraint. This version makes it easy to cuff many assailants at one time and are easy to hide and disposable.

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If an officer arrives at a darkened crime scene where they suspect that the perpetrator is still in the vicinity, they may use one of these to illuminate the area. What are we thinking of?

Coming in various sizes, flashlights are a must-have for a police officer’s uniform. In addition to the traditional battery-powered model, there are some lights that can plug into a USB port, which makes charging them on the go a possibility.

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What light source do both police officers and air-traffic controllers use?

In addition to their bright vests, law enforcement agents are nearly impossible not to spot with their batons. Before the LED light, which are today's models, traffic beacons were colored plastic.

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When you're starting out as a beat cop, you'll probably experience some aches and pains. What is one item you could wear to help alleviate them?

Ideally, a police officer should have two different pairs of shoes for work. The first is patent-leather shoes to be worn during formal affairs, and the second should be a pair of heavy-duty work boots with enough support for daily activities.

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What part of a gun shares its name with a type of media?

We got a little tricky on you here. Both clips and magazines are methods of transporting ammunition; however, most of the guns that officers use are automatic, so a magazine is an appropriate choice as they're used to store multiple bullets.

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Just like Batman's uniform, a policeman can't function without one of these items. What are we thinking of?

An officer's belt can hold many different pieces of equipment while they're out in the field. Some of the prime examples you'll see are handcuffs, pepper spray, magazine holders, keys, holster and flexible restraints.

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Many officers rely on this piece of equipment to protect themselves when dealing with a hostage situation. What is it?

There are different types of body armor, including a flatter set that prevents suspects from noticing that it's there. Other types of body armor include tactical armor and stab armor.

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What's the piece of equipment that officers will use to communicate with one another out in the field?

Radios are used in many different ways when police are in the field. For example, if dispatch sends out a call, police can radio in and tell them they're on the case. This solves the issue of multiple officers arriving at the same crime scene.

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When it comes to police news, some civilians will listen to this instead of a normal radio. What are we thinking of?

A police scanner is a perfect invention for the local busybody. With its exclusive channel, it could be used to get the details on everyone's business. It's currently legal to own a scanner as long as it's for home use.

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Are you a navigationally challenged? If so, you may want one of these. What piece of equipment is it?

Just like civilians, police officers will often use a GPS to navigate busy streets. This instrument is pivotal to a police officer's vehicle because when you have a truly dangerous situation, every second counts.

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What piece of equipment records interactions with civilians?

In addition to being mounted to police cars, police officers now can wear cameras themselves. This comes in handy when they have to serve legal documents because then no one can claim that they never received them: They're on camera!

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Both Boy Scouts and police officers use one of these. What are we thinking of?

Both fixed-blade knives and folding knives are legal for an officer to have; however, with a folding knife, there's an additional safety measure in its collapsible blade. What are they used for? Many things, including cutting flexible restraints.

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Which piece of police equipment is similar to a Swiss Army knife?

A multitool is one of the most useful things a police officer carries. The most basic multitool can have a file, needle-nose pliers, a small blade and a bottle opener. Of course, the fancier models have different versions of the basic's tools.

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D'oh! You've locked your keys in your car and contacted the police to help you out. What tool would they use to help you out?

Many associate a jim (or slim jim) as the only go-to for unlocking a door. However, if you want to minimize damage to your car, you use a wedge kit. It comes with a plastic wedge that nestles in the door's seal and a jim for getting to that pesky lock.

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Eep! You've gotten in an accident and can't get out of your car. What would a police officer use to break the window of your vehicle?

When applied to a car's side window, a window punch can break the tempered glass in seconds. Fortunately, these items are sold to private citizens as well because you never know what can happen.

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A police officer's belt can easily fall down without this additional support. What can they use to prevent this fashion faux pas?

Belt keepers are essential to an officer's uniform. These little strips of leather or vinyl with double end snaps connect directly to the trouser belt, distributing the weight of the duty belt without damaging the trousers.

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What would an officer use to keep their keys organized?

Keyholders come in many different varieties. Depending on the job that the law enforcement agent has, they could use a keyholder that exposes the set of keys or a covered keyholder, which is ideal for sneaking around.

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Time to hit the shooting range! What do officers wear to protect their ears from the sound of gunfire?

If you've ever gone to an extremely loud concert, you've probably worn the same type of earplugs that police officers wear to gun ranges. In addition to the foam earplug, there are molded plastic earplugs as well as wrap-around earplugs.

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Keeping a gun clean keeps an officer's gun accurate. What do they use to clean it?

A cleaning kit has all the essentials for gun maintenance, including brushes, rods and two bottles for oils and solvents. Gun oil is one of the most essential pieces of a gun-cleaning kit; it removes grime as well as lubricates the gun for future use.

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Whoohoo! You're involved in a high-speed chase! What would the police use to slow you down?

Spike strips can be pretty nasty if you ever run across them. When in an upright position, a spike strip can tear through all four of your tires in seconds. They come in various lengths and are constructed out of metal or nylon.

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While waiting on the paramedics, police officers will often use these to help the emergency workers get started. What are we thinking of?

Many cities require that police officers get some first aid and CPR training, which is pivotal when there's a nasty accident and the police are first on the scene. Instead of waiting on medics to arrive, they can help victims start on their roads to recovery.

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