In many parts of the United States, summer temperatures are brutal, making an already difficult job even harder for law enforcement. To help beat the heat, it is critical to choose uniforms and accessories that breathe to ensure comfort. There are several uniform items that can help officers get through the day when the mercury rises.
- Lightweight Ripstop Pants – Heavy-duty pants don’t have to be heavyweight. Ripstop fabric is light in weight and breathable. These pants can withstand tough wear and tear, but still keep the wearer cool. Select these pants for summer wear to replace heavy-duty winter pants. If it fits within your uniform regulations, you can choose these pants in khaki color, which is cooler than darker colors, as well.
- Bike Shorts – In some applications, bike shorts are allowable, and will certainly keep officers cooler than pants. Though designed for bike patrol officers, these shorts may be applicable in other environments, as well, particularly casual events.
- Lightweight Short Sleeve Shirts – Of course, officers will be ditching those long sleeve shirts as soon as the weather warms. Choose a breathable fabric in summer shirts, like twill, to help keep officers cool. Mesh inserts help heat escape from the body, so sweat does not build up. If your department allows, polo style shirts can also keep officers cooler in the summer. Many uniform polos are available in lightweight mesh fabric.
- Straw Campaign Hats – Switching to straw campaign hats in the summer can make a world of difference to officers who are outside all day. This cover protects from the sun, but maintains breathability better than a hat of solid material.
- Baseball Style Hats – Baseball style hats provide protection from the sun, which is critical during the summer. However, some baseball hats are much hotter than others. Choose hats made from moisture wicking polyester and mesh.
- Tactical Vests Designed for Summer – Choose carrier vests designed for summer wear, to keep officers cool. There are a variety of vest options that allow officers to stay comfortable without sacrificing ballistic protection.
A day of patrolling the streets is tough enough on officers, without the added stress of extreme heat. While you can’t control the temperatures, you can control how officers are dressed. Providing summer items like breathable shirts and straw campaign hats can help ensure that your department is comfortable in even the most extreme conditions.