Policing major metropolitan areas is serious business. Most cities employ anywhere from 10-50 police officers for every 10,000 citizens and keeping those officers prepared for duty is becoming more complex each year.
Tactical gear is one of the most important decision of any major metropolitan department. Here are four things all departments should consider when choosing and using tactical gear.
Officers need gear they can rely on in the field; police tactical gear should have a long lifespan. The best tactical gear is durable, heavy-duty, and made specifically for repeated use. In many police departments, particularly those where budgets are stretched thin, some items are used by multiple officers over the course of a single day, changing hands with each shift, which makes durability a top priority.
Certain tactical elements are more at-risk of degradation over time than others, making it all the more important for gear to be built to withstand repeated uses. For example, tactical vests used constantly by major metropolitan police departments have a shelf life. Vests that are made from high-quality materials using durable construction techniques like supersonic welding are worth the investment. They last longer and stay stronger than inferior vests not backed by the NIJ seal of approval.
In many major metro areas, the sheer volume of gear can be overwhelming. In New York alone, tens of thousands of tactical vests are worn by officers every single year. And every vest needs to be stored, cared for, cleaned, and regularly inspected for deficiencies.
Creating a unit specifically dedicated to cleaning and maintaining tactical gear will benefit the entire department by increasing the lifespan of the gear. With millions upon millions of dollars invested in equipment, doing so pays dividends long-term. When gear isn’t properly maintained it’s more likely to break or malfunction in some way, and those malfunctions can be deadly.
Encourage every officer to actively maintain his or her own gear. Regular cleaning and inspections helps an officer recognize the early signs of wear and tear. Reporting issues, inspecting regularly, and cleaning gear should be considered part of an officer’s schedule.
3. Lost Gear
When considering how many pieces of tactical gear float around major metropolitan police departments, it’s not hard to imagine how components inevitably become lost. Cataloging gear and following check-in and check-out procedures at the beginning and end of each shift can greatly reduce the amount of lost or misplaced items and help to ensure that gear is available when needed.
Keeping extra tactical gear on hand in case of loss, theft, or breakage is a necessity for both large and small departments. Needs will vary by department but for particularly large police departments it’s not unheard of to over-order gear by as much as 10%. Regulation changes alone can easily necessitate an additional 1,000-5,000 pieces of gear quickly. Since most reputable tactical gear manufacturers simply can’t accommodate orders of that size on a moment’s notice, keeping compliant gear at-the-ready is the safest bet.
4. Grants and Budgeting
For all police departments, budget is everything. A department’s annual budget dictates what kind of gear it can procure, how much of it, or whether there’s enough money to supply gear at all. An astonishing number of police officers are now being required to outfit themselves with a majority of their own field gear due to budget constraints on their departments.
Major metro areas are at an advantage because they have hundreds of grant opportunities available to them every calendar year. Grants can be small, ranging from a few thousand dollars to the millions, when backed by the Federal Government. Meeting the requirements of tactical gear grants is a stringent process that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Most major metro police departments have at least one full-time grant writer on staff to ensure every available grant opportunity is explored fully.
Grants are one of the simplest and most straightforward ways for major metropolitan areas to buy new tactical gear. These departments also often receive the benefit of bulk discounts from gear suppliers who are happy to accommodate orders of such size. Most of the wealthiest individuals and corporations in the country are based in major cities which means these metros are also well-positioned to receive private grant monies.
Vel Tye Tactical Police Gear
Vel Tye provides durable, reliable tactical gear to metropolitan police departments all over the country. We’re a veteran-founded tactical gear manufacturer based in Virginia Beach, VA.
Our team understands the unique challenges that come with outfitting an urban police department. We’ve worked with departments on bulk pricing, special orders, and unique requests. From tactical vests to weapons straps to canine equipment, there’s nothing we can’t build for your team.
Ready to talk to Vel Tye about what your department requires? We’re happy to help. Reach out to us today to learn more.