Xenia police to purchase new gear to help with hip, back pain

Xenia police officers will begin wearing a new load-bearing vest that should help with added strain to officers’ hips and lower back. Contributed / Xenia Police Department
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Xenia police officers will begin wearing a new load-bearing vest that should help with added strain to officers’ hips and lower back. Contributed / Xenia Police Department

Some Xenia police officers are expecting relief to their hips and lower back thanks to new equipment purchases.

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Carrying a firearm, extra magazines, a Taser, flashlight, two pairs of handcuffs, pepper spray, a tourniquet, radio, medical equipment and multi-tool amounts to between 10 and 15 pounds of extra weight to an officer on duty.

A new load-bearing vest, recently approved for purchase by Chief Randy Person, will soon be worn by some Xenia officers to redistribute the extra weight off the hips and lower back.

“Each year we review equipment that officers are authorized to purchase using their uniform allowance,” said Xenia Police Chief Randy Person. “While the load-bearing vests give us a more militaristic look than we would prefer, the benefit to both the health and safety of our officers make this a timely option.”

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Currently, most officers wear their ballistic vest under their uniform shirt while carrying all of their equipment on a belt worn around their waist.

A majority of Xenia officers work 12-hour shifts hours each day, according to XPD. The current belt puts significant amount of stress on the lower back and hips during long shifts.

The department cited a six-month study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire that reported carrying the equipment in the new manner will be beneficial for officers. The study found officers who wore load-bearing vests over a period of six months reported significantly less hip and lower-back pain.

“The newly designed load-bearing vests do not take away the extra weight, instead, it prevents the weight from sitting solely on the hips and lower back,” said XPD in a report. “An added benefit of the vest is that if an officer if not on a call, it can be taken off and easily put back on.”

Xenia officials could not immediately say how much the vest costs.

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