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Load-Bearing Vests Now Being Used By Springfield Township Police

The Springfield Township Police Department is making a significant change to how officers carry their equipment. Instead of the traditional duty belt, officers are now using load-bearing vests, which have been found to be a safe and healthier alternative. 

Officers who carry most of their equipment – which often weighs close to 30 pounds – on vests rather than duty belts experience significantly less hip and lower-back pain. Springfield Township Police Chief, Rob Browder said, "we moved to this equipment to prevent injuries of our officers. The vests more evenly distribute the weight of our equipment so there is less strain on the hips and lower back." 

The vest, which is put on over a uniform, has the items normally found on an officer’s duty belt clipped on it.  Officers have full range of motion. The vests also serve as a carrier for the body armor that protects the officers.  Traditional body armor is worn under the uniform and traps heat. By having the armour on the outside of the uniform, officers experience less heat exhaustion - therefore reducing additional stresses and/or heat-related injury.