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Top 10 Every Day Carry Items for Corrections Officers


Correctional officers are required to carry quite a bit of gear throughout their duty day, and most experienced correction officers know to carry certain equipment on them at all times not only to protect themselves in various situations, but also make certain aspects of the job easier. Below is a listing of the top 10 every day carry items that most correctional officers will carry.

1. Flashlight

Having a flashlight is arguable the single most important piece of equipment that a correctional officer will have.Streamlight Flashlight

This item is invaluable for corrections officer that conduct searches of inmate cells, make bed checks, or is often on patrol during the night shift. Even if you’re located in a well-light facility and your position doesn’t require the use of a flashlight or you don’t think that it’s necessary, you always want to be prepared if an event arises that you need one.

Additionally, some of the larger, metal flashlights can be utilized as a defensive weapon if needed, but hopefully it will never come to that point. One of the highest rated and reviewed flashlights that I’ve come across for everyday carry is the Streamlight flashlight, primarily for its small size, bright illumination, durability and value.

2. Key Clips

We all know that corrections officers, prison guards and the like must carry a large amount of keys. Having a set of key clips will help manage and maintain accountability of the various keys you currently have in your possession.

These particular items definitely come in handy as they help you manage large quantities of keys, which most of you may know are not your average sized keys and won’t be going in your pockets.

Now these key clips are designed to carry and maintain the prison keys that you may have, and these keys can be massive, ranging up to 6 inches in length. Most officers will carry a key clip on either side, one as a primary and the other as a backup.

3. Boots

A good quality pair of correctional officer boots is very important.

Think about it, as a corrections officer you will be on your feet for the greater portion of the day. To prevent fatigue in your lower extremities, pain, and general discomfort, you’ll want to find the best boot for you that are not only comfortable, but also long-lasting.

Depending on the uniform you are required to wear, a pair of black boots is typically the standard you’ll be looking for, but not all departments wear the same types of uniforms. Some locations wear more of a formal type uniform instead of a BDU type design, so in this case a pair of correctional officer shoes would be more appropriate.

For more information, check out the best boots for correctional officers.

4. Belt

The correctional officer belt  is another critical piece of equipment for any professional corrections officer.Correctional Officer Belt

In this position, it’s not the place to wear your normal, everyday belt from super center or discount outlet brand belt and expect it to hold up the rigors of the job and last long term. What you’ll need is a Heavy-Duty Belt made specifically for someone in a law enforcement position.

Most of the gear that you’ll be using on a daily basis will be stored on your duty belt. So it makes since to invest in a quality, heavy duty belt made for individuals that work in law enforcement.

5. Handcuff Key

These tactical handcuff keys differ from a standard handcuff key in that they have an increased length and also a more durable look and feel.

The durability of these particular handcuff keys are much better than your standard cuff keys and allows you to gain access to a handcuffed inmate at a reduced distance and get the job done without having to get in as close.

6. Cut Resistant Gloves

Another must have is a pair of cut resistant law enforcement gloves, but make sure that the gloves are completely cut resistant and not just in the palm portion of the glove as many designed in this manner. You never what you may encounter while on duty conducting searches of inmates, jail cells, bays or dormitories.

If you are called to transport a prisoner from location to location or required to respond to an emergency event, you want a pair of gloves that are puncture resistant to whatever you may encounter on duty.

Most are Kevlar lined or some other type of high-speed materials that generally prevent sharp objects from penetrating the glove.

7. Gloves & Glove Pouch

It’s a good idea to have these gloves on hand in order to protect your hands from germs, body fluids, or any other type of situation that doesn’t require or call for a full tactical type, cut resistance glove.

Glove pouches are primarily used to store the sterile type blue or black gloves for easy access for your mission duties and are generally stored on your duty belt.

Having a set of nitrile gloves stored in a glove pouch and of course a small container of hand sanitizer is an absolute must for any correctional officer today.

8. Eye Protection

Depending on the position you currently hold, the wearing of eye protection may be of occasional use while others will be required to be wore daily. Having a good eye protection that’s rated at a similar level to that of safety glasses would be a good selection.

There are so many things that can happen on duty, and we can only imagine what inmates are likely to do. Take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and more specifically your eyesight from the danger of damage due to the introduction of some type of foreign material.

9. Mini First Aid Kit

A mini-first aid kit is a required item for correctional officers to have. You never know what you may encounter while on duty or what situations you will need to respond to and provide immediate medical attention.

In the event that you need to protect yourself or your fellow officers, having a mini first aid kit nearby or on your person is always a good idea.

Now these mini first aid kits are not designed to take the place of aid that the trained medical corrections staff would provide, but rather allows you to administer some very basic medical aid in critical situations if the need every arises.

10. Pepper Spray

For a correctional officer, your options in terms of self-defense and compliance items are limited. This is primarily due to the nature of the job and the proximity to detained individuals. So with that said, having and carrying some pepper spray is one of your best options.

In most locations, correctional officer are not allowed to bring in any types of weapons into a correctional facility, so before you go out and make a purchase any type of pepper spray, check with your particular department to see if it is indeed authorized for duty use.

One Response to Top 10 Every Day Carry Items for Corrections Officers

  1. Bryan A. January 25, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    I am very glad to see that you have posted this. There are some things that some people may not be aware of though. When you start looking at a duty belt, there will be some pieces of equipment that your specific department will not allow you to have so don’t go buying a whole bunch of things without knowing. You best bet is to check with your department and see what you can have and then go from there.

    Once you have the equipment that you want, placement of the duty gear on the belt has to be a tactical priority. Make sure that you can access what you need when you need it.

    When you start looking at boots, I can tell you that this is one area that you don’t want to go skimping on. You will be spending most of your time on your feet on a concrete floor. Some of the best boots that I have used over the years have been Bates, 5.11 and Under Armour. Make sure you get a pair that has a side zipper. For the best key holder, I would have to recommend the ZAK Tool key holder. I’ve used two of them for the last 15 years and they have never failed me.

    Now, your department may not allow you to carry a personal handcuff key so please keep that in mind (I know my department doesn’t allow it as do others). When you start to look at search gloves make sure that they are either Kevlar or Spectra lined. You will find many gloves out there that say “Police Search Gloves” but are neither Kevlar nor Spectra… they are just leather gloves.

    A flashlight is a must regardless of when you work (just like they mentioned above). I agree that that the Streamlight flashlight is one of the best out there, especially the Stinger. There is a reason why Law Enforcement has been using them for years.

    Good luck on your new job and welcome to the family!