I came on the job in 1983.  For many of my readers, that’s before they were born. 

In spite of my age, I have always tried to embrace new technologies and equipment.  When used with the experience and wisdom earned through time on the job new tools can be amazing. 

However, I never believed that just because something was new it was better. 

I have always enjoyed computers and used them to make my work easier and better.  Back when I was on district tact, I developed a district-wide relational database.  I used a DOS program to design (DOS is what us old timers used before Windows). 

It was installed on a computer in the Tact offices and we were inputting data into it for about a month when a very young Officer Jonathan Lewin (he is now a big boss at headquarters with lots of gold braid on his hat,} came in from headquarters with a citywide database he designed called ICAM. 

His program did everything mine did only better and bigger.  So, my work was tossed away.  Oh well. 

I saw the advantage of ICAM and fit this new tool into my arsenal. 

The same happened with my duty weapons.  In the academy, we trained with revolvers.  You had your choice of Colt, S&W, or Ruger. It could be .357 or .38 cal but we could only carry .38 cal ammunition. 

If you chose to qualify on your own you could carry a semi-auto, in 9mm or .45cal.  That meant either a Colt or Browning most of the time. 

Later, the single action only pistols were banned, and you had to have a double action pistol semi.  You still were required to carry your duty revolver as your primary. 

These requirements had many of us going out on the street with a revolver plus extra ammo.  Semi Auto with extra magazines, and a snub-nose .38 in an ankle holster. 

God forbid you fell down; the explosion would leave a crater.  In spite of this an alarming number of us still never wore our Kevlar vests. 

Go figure (I’m guilty).

Eventually, our department transitioned to training new hires with semi-auto pistols in 9mm.  An older officer could now carry his semi-auto without a revolver provided he qualified annually. 

I chose two, both S&Ws, a model 669 and a 4566.  (9mm and .45 cal., respectfully) 

We old wheel-gunners still had to qualify with our revolvers annually.  As a Sergeant, I went to qualify, and my Lieutenant came along.  We were on the range with two younger officers both firing semi-autos.  They were trained with them as their primary weapons in the academy.

When the range officer scored our four targets, he made it a point to tease the younger officers on their poor shooting compared to the two old wheel-gunners.   Our groupings were much tighter, and we had no fliers while the semi-autos were all over the paper. 

I know my revolver was smooth to shoot and it has had trigger work done.  I also had thousands of rounds through it.  I think it was unfair to the young guys but I’m sure they are better now.

I never was trained with a Taser or expandable baton, but I see the benefit of both. I have dispensed several cans of pepper spray over the years with mixed results.  Often getting a face-full myself.  We were trained with the wood baton in the academy and most of us transitioned on our own to Maglite’s.

These are all good tools when used properly by trained individuals.  A skilled tradesman learns to best use the tools available. Coming out of the academy I had a 4” .357 Ruger in a border patrol holster, one dump pouch with six rounds of .38cal.  A double speed loader pouch with two loaded speed loaders. 

I had one pair of S&W handcuffs in a leather pouch.  A baton ring allowed me to carry my wooden baton and later my Maglite.  I had a key clip with my call box key, a Bianchi cuff key and my traffic whistle.  When I retired, I had a desk job in civilian clothes, so I had my five shot S&W Airweight .38 cal snubby in a clip-on holster.  That often went into the drawer when I sat down.

What did you come out of the academy required to carry and what have you transitioned to?  Let me know.  Photos are always great too.

Until the next time, stay safe, run low and zigzag.


Note: You can read all of Robert Weisskopf’s articles at https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/author/robertw332/ and find all his books on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2PsbT4t.