Blue Line

On and off duty gear

July 26, 2022  By Brendan Rodela and Hilary Rodela


A review of gear for members of law enforcement

Wearing and using the right equipment can make all the difference in an officer’s day. This past year, several companies developed outstanding gear to be used on and off duty. As a note, what is featured here is just a sampling of what is offered in the industry today. All items listed were tested both on and off duty.

Workout clothing

Workout gear is in full swing in 2022. Companies like 5.11 Tactical and LA Police Gear have designed versatile collections for members looking to enhance their workouts.

For women, the Margo Tank from 5.11 Tactical was designed to be light and breathable, in the hopes of making it a top choice for workout clothing. Created with a “U-shaped” back detail, it’s comfortable and is great for a longer workout.

5.11 Tactical has also introduced a hoodie for women that is much warmer than it appears. The Donna Hoodie includes a high neck collar to keep away the cold, a kangaroo pocket and thumb holes in the cuffs. The Donna Hoodie is light and moisture wicking. We believe this hoodie is ideal for keeping around on or off duty.


For cooler days, the PT-R line from 5.11 Tactical is also a suitable choice. The PT-R Emily Full Zip is a hooded sweatshirt-style piece with a kangaroo pocket. It fits well, providing just enough warmth without being too much. The PT-R Forged Hoodie for men, like the Emily Full Zip, is more form fitting, making it a good workout option. Both hoodies are durable and are easy to move in without inconvenience. The PT-R Condition Knit Jogger is great for conditioning for the job. The Joggers are soft with a somewhat relaxed fit, and are odor and moisture wicking as well.

The LAPG Women’s Distressed Heart Sweater is another option to add to your workout gear when it’s a little chilly out. Made from cotton, polyester and French Terry, and with moisture-wicking material, female members will enjoy wearing it during their workouts or just hanging out at home.

The LAPG Pony Tail Heart Hat is now Hilary’s go-to for caps. It’s breathable, which keeps her cool and dry for hours of outdoor time. The hat also features an elastic criss-cross band section on the back of the six-panel cap for my pony tail. This cap is great for range day and will keep the hair out of your face so you can focus on the task at hand.


Whether you’re on or off duty, you always need to protect your feet. When you stand for hours on end at a crime scene, pursue a subject on foot, or perform any other strenuous activity, what you put on your feet matters.

The A/T Trainer from 5.11 Tactical was designed to be footwear fit for men or women. With TPU toe durability, all-terrain load assistance and high abrasion mesh, this sneaker will be a go to for workout sessions. Those familiar with the companies’ A.T.L.A.S footwear will appreciate the support plate on the bottom of the shoe, as it is the same as most duty boots. This way, members can have a workout shoe that is a sneaker but is similar to the footwear they wear on a daily basis.

The 5.11 A/T 6” Side Zip Boot is said to be one of the most comfortable boots on the market. They are great for on duty, at the range or hiking, and will keep your feet comfy and cool. These boots are also water- and oil-resistant, and include mesh to increase the breathability. They are also easy to slip on quickly with their full-length side zipper. These were comfortable even after hiking for hours. For long days at work, we would say these are ideal.

Another great option for off duty, around the town wear or recreational hiking is the Company Boot 3.0 from 5.11. Made with full grain leather as well as Ortholite insoles and slip- and oil-resistant outsoles, these are great for all occasions. These would be ideal for detectives who may not wear uniforms, but street clothes.

Wearing and using the right equipment can make all the difference in an officer’s day.

Lights for any circumstance

While working the night shift, officers may need to rely on their flashlights to properly see the scene of a crime. This means that the tools they carry need to powerful, but portable.

Streamlight’s Beartrap can be used for working on a scene, training purposes or for off duty camping trips. This light has a strong, magnetic base and illuminates using anywhere from 325 to 2,000 lumens, dependent on what type of situation the light is being used for. Since it is able to run for over four hours at a time, the Beartrap is a great choice for utilizing at scenes. The battery is rechargeable and is able to continue to work as it is being charged.

Also from Streamlight, the TLR RM 2 Laser Rail Mounted Tactical Lighting System is a powerful, 1,000 lumen light and red laser combo designed for long guns. The light mounts to standard rails and features a push-button switch on the light, and an optional remote pressure switch. The pressure switch can be mounted to your long gun in several ways using the included accessories. The TLR RM 2 comes with strip of double sided tape for quick mounting, zip ties and two screws to permanently affix the pressure switch. The TLR RM 2 is bright, tactical and very easy to install, and could be a major asset to any long gun.

The LAPG CMPTAC USB Rechargeable 1600 Lumen Flashlight is great for any occasion whether it be work or play. The battery life can last anywhere from 2 to 150 hours, depending on what setting you have it on, and the beam distance is 450 meters. The light has an excellent span, too—it lights up a large area at once which is perfect for patrol or crime scene needs.

The Taction USA Professional Blacklight Flashlight is also a top choice when it comes to compact, alternative light sources. Weighing less than two ounces and measuring at only 4 x 1 x 1 inches, it is easy to carry and is equipped with 395 nm UV-A blacklight spectrum. This makes the light illuminate as if it were a larger, industrial version. It is perfect for crime scene investigation; having such a small light with a big impact is a game changer.

Accessories and more

When looking at accessories, the Rush24 2.0 backpack from 5.11 Tactical will hold anything you need, whether you’re on the job, at training or on days off. This backpack has designated sections for a laptop, a concealed carry option and even an eyewear section. It’s great for hiking, a workout bag, or a go bag for patrol or crime scene techs.

LA Police Gear’s latest hard rifle plate is the Ceramic Multi-Curve Ballistic Armor Rifle Plate. This model is made with Silicon Carbide and PE (polyethylene), and is coated with polyurea for long term durability and less likelihood of bullet fragmentation. The plate measures at 10”x 12” size with a five year shelf life. This plate is slightly lighter than LA Police Gear’s other Level IV offering. It has been engineered to stand up to armour-piercing rifle rounds, making it a trusted tool to protect you in the worst circumstances.

5.11’s Division Digital Watch is rugged and durable. No frills, no gimmicks and there is no stomach-churning price tag. The Division features a stainless-steel frame with a digital display, and mineral crystal face, accompanied by a removable band in case you want to add your own style. The display features the day, date, and can be switched to your preference of standard or military time. The watch also features 100 meters of water resistance.


This collection of versatile gear features something for everyone in law enforcement. Keep this in mind: when you have the right gear, you can do your job much more efficiently and safely than when you don’t.

Brendan Rodela and Hilary Rodela are a married couple both in public safety fields. Brendan is a deputy for the Lincoln County (NM) Sheriff’s Office, and Hilary is a licensed Private Investigator and Crime Analyst for the Cold Case Foundation.

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