External Load Bearing Vest Pilot Program

The CSUCI Police Department is excited to announce our External Load Bearing Vest (LBV) Pilot Program. Based largely on research from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and at the request of our officers, the CSUCI Police Department will be exploring the benefits of LBV vs the traditional duty belts which we currently carry.

The standard duty belts officers wear to carry their equipment — including everything from handcuffs to batons to flashlights — typically weigh close to 30 pounds. Carrying that amount of weight on their hips during 12-plus hour patrol shifts puts a significant amount of pressure on the officers’ backs, especially their lower backs. Many officers experience constant back pain. Across the Law Enforcement profession, many officers miss patrol shifts because of back issues, which leads to staffing shortages, overtime costs and numerous worker comp claims.

University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Study

The Eau Claire Police Department, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, and Mayo Clinic conducted a collaborative research project on the health benefits of load-bearing vest carriers in comparison to the traditional police duty belt. Based on their study, UW Eau-Claire researchers assert load bearing vests are more effective at evenly distributing the weight of police equipment and put less strain on the hips and lower back compared to the traditional duty belt. Additionally, there were no unintended consequences discovered related to the health of the officers or functional safety of the vest while on duty. It could be concluded that the use of the load bearing vest carrier may well have potential short- and long-term health and wellness benefits for officers.

CSUCI Police Department - LBV Implementation

Uniform Appearance

The CSUCI Police Department values our positive relationship with both the CSUCI and the University Glen Communities. Up until now we have maintained a traditional uniform appearance in an effort to minimize any possibilities of our officers looking too tactical or intimidating. We believe that some load-bearing vest carriers appear overly militarized or tactical in appearance and hope to address this concern through the specific design of the LBV and community outreach. With this specific LBV product we believe our community will still feel comfortable in approaching us while also improving the working conditions for our officers. We hope our transparent approach to the implementation of the program will help to garner community understanding and support for the uniform change.

Test Group side-by-side comparison of an officer wearing a LBV vs an officer in traditional uniform

The CSUCI Police Department has currently outfitted four (4) officers with the proposed new LBV. The four pilot program officers are currently assigned to day shift patrol. In addition to normal patrol visibility, we will be making special appearances and soliciting feedback from all of our CSUCI Community Members.

Pictured are Officer Taylor Kronberger and Officer Jenna Kushigemachi in a side-by-side comparison of the new LBV with its traditional uniform and duty belt counterpart. The Department has standardized the appearance and design of the LBV to as closely match the look of our traditional uniform as possible.

Community Feedback

We are actively seeking feedback on our LBV Pilot Program and invite everyone in our community to take a short survey about the new LBV, its overall appearance, and your feelings about the program.

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