One Maine police department has a new look that can help police better protect their community and themselves.
The Orono Police Department recently took to its Facebook page to announce that the department was using drug forfeiture money and some grant dollars to buy vests that offer better protection and help officers avoid injuries on the job.
The new look “brings our gear from our belt to our vests. It also allows officers to add tourniquets to our equipment which allows us to tend to traumatic injuries, and hopefully save more lives,” the department said.
“It’s actually the exact same vest that’s underneath, just put into this outer carrier,” Orono officer Sarah Angelo said, WCSH reported.
But the difference means a lot to the officer wearing it.
“These vests allow our officers to take all the weight off their hips and lower backs. The vests will allow us to distribute the weight evenly. We are doing this to prevent lower back and hip issues that could lead to disability and other health issues. We hope this will save the town money over time. Several of our officers already go to a chiropractor to alleviate pain,” the department’s Facebook post said.
“Causing lower back problems, sitting in the car a lot and just that weight the way it was distributed was causing issues,” said Police Chief Josh Ewing.
Orono police said the vest can be of extreme importance in a circumstance no one wants to envision.
“There have also been incidents that have proven these vests allow quicker access to tend to wounded officers (hopefully something we won’t have to deal with). These vests can be taken off quickly to tend to injuries. With the older vests, medical personnel would have to cut off the shirt and the vests to tend to injuries. This can be zipped off,” the department said.
The department said that at one time, the trend was to hide which officers were wearing vests, but the times have changed.
“One of the reasons that officers used to wear vests under their shirts was to hide which officers had vests on, and which ones didn’t. It is almost given nowadays that officers wear vests, so this is no longer an issue,” the department said in its post.
As for Angelo, she said so far, the change was good for her.
“I’ve only had mine on for several hours and I’m already finding that I used to have a problem with my hips rolling forward and my shoulders rolling forward. I’m standing up straighter, I’m sitting up straighter and my usual aches and pains are already alleviated,” she said.
The new look for its officers drew some differing opinions on the department’s Facebook page.
“Looks way too ‘Aggressive.’ I’m starting to feel anxious,” wrote a poster using the name Teddy Bulis.
“Excellent implementation of practical COMBAT PROVEN equipment set-ups; especially for those of us who work in scorching heat. There must be a tie breaker between a professional uniform and tactical practicality, this appears to be it. Looking good Orono,” replied a poster using the name Stephen John Grogan.
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