After you’ve been accepted to a police academy, take the time to familiarize yourself with the required gear. Depending on your academy, you may just need to show up. But at other facilities you may need to shop and bring gear that includes uniforms, tactical equipment, books and a laptop to campus.
If you weren’t sent a supply list with your admission, contact your academy to see if they have one. Even if there isn’t an official list, staff may have valuable recommendations. Supply lists tend to be exclusive to each academy, with some only requiring cadets to purchase and bring a few items. Other lists will be extremely detailed, indicating the exact make and model that is acceptable of each item. There are also some academies that provide cadets with the gear when they arrive -- this may be included in their tuition or may incur a separate fee. Some gear be available to rent or borrow.
Uniforms and Clothing
Most academies will require cadets to purchase a uniform. It is usually in a designated color and will include a shirt, khaki pants, belt, tie and boots. You’ll be expected to keep your boots shining, so you should invest in a polish kit. High-gloss footwear that won’t need polishing to pass inspection is usually frowned on. Cadets may also be asked to purchase outerwear corresponding to their training season. The clothing may include caps, gloves, rain jackets and a winter coat. Be prepared to purchase fitness training clothing, such as shorts, T-shirts and sweatpants in a solid color or displaying your academy’s logo, along with solid white socks and running shoes. Also consider purchasing a water bottle, mouth guard, modest bathing suit, a support jock and a sports bra for your fitness exercises.
Cadets may be expected to arrive with their own duty gear, which are the devices and equipment police officers wear on their belts. Common devices are flashlights, batons, Tasers and handcuffs. Be prepared to invest in a proper belt and the various cases needed to hold each item.
Guns and Range Gear
At most academies, students will be required to provide their own weapon and ammunition. The academy will likely provide specific regulations on the type of weapon cadets must buy -- so be sure to review the guidelines carefully. You may also be required to buy safety glasses, ear protection, a ballistic vest and a firearms cleaning kit. Some academies will also want their cadets to have a mock plastic gun for training, and dummy ammunition.
You’ll likely receive a list of textbooks but you may want to add some of your own reference materials. Quick reference guides are available on a variety of law enforcement subjects. For example, a drug influence or weapons identification template, a report writing pocket reference or a code guide from your local department may be useful.
Laptop and School Supplies
Remember that the police academy includes a lot of time in the classroom and studying. Make sure you have a working laptop, but be sure to check any recommendations or regulations regarding personal computers before making your purchase. Also be sure to take binders, notebooks and pens to class. Many academies also suggest their cadets have access to calculators and dictionaries to aid in their studies.
- Weber State University - Law Enforcement Academy: Uniforms and Equipment
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Standard MPTC Academy Equipment List
- Lamar Institute of Technology: Cadet Uniform and Equipment List
- Truckee Meadows Community College: Northern Nevada Law Enforcement Academy Cost Breakdown
- Hill College: Police Academy Equipment and Uniform List
- Holland College: Police Science
Based in Toronto, J.A. Zander has worked as a full-time journalist since 2004. Zander's work has appeared in Canadian and American magazines, newspapers and websites.