Optimizing Officer Confidence: The Psychology Behind Riot Gear

Optimizing Officer Confidence: The Psychology Behind Riot Gear

Although the number of police officer deaths declined by 39 percent from 2022 to 2023, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Bill Alexander went on the record stating his belief that the “welcome trend” may be an “anomaly.” By year’s end, he anticipates the number of officers killed in the line of duty will exceed 2023 based on a disturbing trend of police officers being shot. The hard numbers involving injuries and fatalities in the line of duty can only have a debilitating effect on the confidence and mental health of men and women tasked with protecting and serving.

One way that departments and agencies are helping men and women who enforce the law is by furnishing them with state-of-the-art technology and personal protective equipment, aka riot gear. The physical and psychological protections provided by riot gear are keys to front-line officers maintaining the thin blue line with confidence and avoiding long-term trauma.

How Does Violence Cause Psychological Trauma?

There’s a tendency for media outlets and the public to overlook the fact that violent interactions affect police officers the same way they do other community members. This may stem from the fact that they are trained professionals who possess tools such as firearms, tasers, handcuffs, and body armor in many cases. However, getting paid to perform a critical service does not allow these women and men to set aside basic emotions.

Let’s consider other examples of people tasked with carrying out duties that put them in harm’s way. Members of the military are thoroughly trained for battlefield situations. Neither basic nor advanced training can prepare our valued service members for the psychological scars of war. That’s mainly because feeling constant threats impacts real-life people in many ways. The National Institute of Health had this to say about the effects of trauma.

“Trauma, including one-time, multiple, or long-lasting repetitive events, affects everyone differently. Some individuals may display criteria associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)… The impact of trauma can be subtle, insidious, or outright destructive. How an event affects an individual depends on many factors, including individual characteristics, the type and characteristics of the event(s), developmental processes, the meaning of the trauma, and sociocultural factors.”

Just like soldiers, firefighters, and other first responders, police officers cannot avoid direct involvement with violent behavior, horrific crime scenes, or peaceful protests that devolve into chaos. However, decision-makers can create a sense they will finish their shift, come what may, by providing a complete inventory of personal protective equipment and gear, such as riot suits.  

How Does Riot Gear Protect Front Line Officers?

In 2023, assaults on New York Police Department officers reportedly hit a high-water mark of at least 5,436. That unfortunate statistic was under 4,000 in 2021, according to Police 1. For boots-on-the-ground patrols, mounted police, and special units to face uncertainty, they must walk with confidence that tactical suits and accessories allow them to survive. These are types of protective equipment that help regular people doing an extraordinary job maintain their daily confidence.

Lightweight Patrol Suits

A lightweight patrol suit delivers critical protection while also allowing for police officer agility. Industry-leading products are fire-resistant and absorb hard impacts. They include materials that offer joint flexibility so that officers can pursue criminals and use reasonable force to place suspects under arrest. Complete with body camera and hydration capabilities, officers enjoy head-to-toe protection.

Mounted Police Protective Suits

Cops on horseback may appear to have a strategic advantage when unruly mobs sow chaos and violence. By the same token, elevation makes them prime projectile targets. Mounted police protective gear focuses on areas that might otherwise be exposed. Helmets are a critical asset, as are elbow and leg padding with hard outer layers. Top products now feature MOLLE panels on the sides of an officer’s core, chest, and back.

Riot Gear Accessories Round Out Sense of Protection

Customization is essential for front-line officers to feel a sense of safety and confidence. Large lettering that clearly states someone serves as a “Sheriff” or “Police” officer puts bad actors on notice. Items such as batons rarely need to be deployed because they usually have a chilling effect on violent offenders. But when criminals resist arrest, accessories such as face shields, helmets, gloves, and shin pads help ensure physical well-being. The best way to protect their mental health and create confidence among the rank-and-file is to provide essential PPE, aka riot gear.

Haven Gear works with police departments and law enforcement agencies to provide superior protective gear and accessories. Contact us today to learn more about our products.