Fifteen Items Every Off-Duty Officer Needs in His/Her Police Gear Bag

police officer pointing gun at criminal suspect Possibly now more than ever, there is no such thing as an “off-duty” police officer. The oath to protect and serve doesn’t stay locked away in a parked patrol car, nor does it hide beneath the badge sitting on a nightstand. That oath is a part of an officer’s DNA; it lives inside of them. As a result, the Hero911 Network would like to remind all officers to be as prepared as possible for those moments when they are spontaneously called to duty or find themselves in the middle of a dangerous situation. In the event that “self deployment” is necessary, off-duty officers should carry a police gear bag – known as an Active Shooter “Go-Bag” – containing the following:  

15  items to keep in your “Go-Bag”

  1. Badge / ID Necklace: Despite wearing civilian clothing, an officer can identify himself/herself to those involved in the situation as an official police officer.
  2. Department Credentials: Further enhancing the credibility of item #1, an officer can show his/her formal association with his/her department to those involved in the situation.
  3. Body Armor Vest or Molle Ballistic Vest: Potentially serving as a primary means of protection, as well as a visual indication of police presence, all protective vests should be emblazoned with the words “POLICE,” SHERIFF,” “AGENT,” etc.
  4. Spare Magazines: No less than three magazines should be carried at all times.
  5. Ammunition: 100 rounds of duty-grade ammunition should be actively accessible.
  6. Door Chucks: Have at least six door stops available to prop open doors accordingly.
  7. Tourniquet: Reduce a victim’s extreme loss of blood caused by the assailant; this includes potential wounds the officer may receive during the situation.
  8. Blood Clot Agent: Administered directly to the wound, a blood clot agent can prevent a victim from bleeding out from a life threatening injury.
  9. Israeli Bandage: Dress large wounds that have already been treated with a blood clot agent or that are not severe enough for a tourniquet.
  10. Trauma Scissors: Quickly and safely cut away a victim’s articles of clothing to more easily access a wound.
  11. Flashlight: Great in situations that occur after sunset or in areas where the electricity has been cut off, a powerful flashlight will give officers an extra advantage in dark areas.
  12. Multipurpose Knife: Whether you come in close quarters with the assailant, or if you find yourself in a hostage situation, a sharp knife can be the difference between going home to your bed or leaving the scene in a bodybag.
  13. Handheld Mirror: A small, extendable mirror will help you discreetly peek around corners, thus reducing your chance of spotting the assailant before he/she spots you.
  14. Paracord: Possibly one of the most versatile items in your kit, paracord can be used for everything from sewing up a victim’s wound to subduing an assailant.
  15. Focus: Although not an item that can be carried in a police gear bag, it is critical that a police officer keeps a calm and collected mind throughout an active threat. Take a deep breath and make wise decisions that will help you conquer the situation in accordance with the law.
Remember, even after your Active Shooter Go-Bag has been assembled, it is crucial for each item to remain in prime working condition. For instance, every six months, you should check the batteries in your flashlight, test the sharpness of your knives and ensure that your ammunition has not been exposed to moisture of any kind. While there is no easy way to prepare for the unpredictable challenges life can bring, you can set yourself up to achieve the maximum level of success for whatever circumstances are presented to you. From one police officer to another, assembling an active shooter police gear bag is a great place to start.
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