Some of you may have noticed a change in the Cape Coral Police Department’s uniform. After extensive research, it was determined that the weight of a duty-belt can have short term and long term lasting effects on the officers’ backs and hips. The typical duty-belt can weigh 30 to 40 pounds. Most Officers wear their duty-belt for at least 12 hours a day while on patrol.
Officers are required by policy to carry a firearm, a minimum of two additional ammunition magazines, a portable radio, a TASER CEW, at least one set of handcuffs (most officers carry two), Oleoresin Capsicum “pepper spray”, an expandable baton and gloves. Officers will also carry other items like a duty knife and flashlight.
The load-bearing vests are much more functional allowing officers more space to spread the equipment out and making all equipment easier to reach. By doing this, the Officers are removing the weight from their duty-belt and putting items on the vest. Florida is obviously hot and Officers are wearing dark blue. This can cause Officers to overheat. The load-bearing vests will allow Officers to take their vest off at the station to cool down and be more comfortable while they are completing reports or taking a break. The load-bearing vests can also be put back on quickly if an Officer needs to respond to calls. Under the vest is a dry weave uniform shirt which will have the same look of a uniform shirt with the Cape Coral Police patches on the sleeves.
Chief David Newlan made the recommendation of ordering the new load-bearing uniform vests based upon making sure his officers’ physical well-being was a priority. This external vest will be the new uniform starting September 1, 2019, for all Officers in the Patrol Bureau.