Most of us go on shift with our personal duty bags strapped to the passenger seat of our cruiser. In a previous column, I suggested you carry water and meal-replacement bars in your bag. Here I'll suggest three other often overlooked items that can make a real difference:
1) Traffic vest. We all have one of these high-visibility vests, and we should carry it with us on patrol. You'll often respond to car accidents and other incidents on busy roads, and throwing your vest on can literally save your life.
2) Dog lead. Sooner or later, and more often for some of us than others, you'll have to deal with stray, loose or wandering dogs. Most of these dogs aren't vicious, and your job will be to get them out of the way, back to their owner or to your animal-control officer. This is a heck of a lot easier if you have a dog lead with you and dog biscuits to coax them with trust me. Use a slip-lead like your vet uses so you can hook the dog even if it isn't wearing a collar. It's cheap to purchase, or you can make one from a length of rope.
3) Frangible ammo. If your policy allows, carry a spare pistol magazine with a half-dozen frangible loads the non-toxic kind made of compressed metal powder that lead-free ranges use. If you have to put down an animal on the roadway, these rounds will do the job with no danger of ricochet off the pavement a real concern in settled areas.