Lititz Borough Police Department invests in outer vests

LITITZ, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- A  police department in Lancaster County is changing how its officers look.

Police officers don't just wear the uniform; they earn it.

Just ask patrolman Samuel Habbershon with Lititz Bureau Police Department.

"It's a sign of accomplishment," explained Habbershon. "I mean, you get your vest, now you can go do your job now that you worked so hard to get through school."

Part of that uniform carries a heavy weight, literally.

"The average duty belt for an officer is 30-40 pounds is what we carry on our belt," explained Habbershon.

Lititz police officers are wearing the same gear, just carrying it in a different way.

The department purchased load-bearing outer vests which hold the same ballistic panels as before; now, though, officers can wear their vest over top their work shirts.

"It's definitely an adjustment, but I like it," added Habbershon. "When we're in the office typing reports at the end of a shift, we can take it off and relax and cool down a bit, especially if you're outside on a call."

Equipment once on the belt can now be carried on the vest which makes long hours in a patrol car and time standing at crime scenes more comfortable.

"I've been wearing them for three days now, and I can tell being on call staying there for a couple hours, you can definitely feel the difference," added Habbershon.

The only things you won't see on the vests? A gun, taser, and baton.

Those remain reserved for the belt. It's an investment meant to reduce injuries. In turn, officials hope it will reduce sick time and overtime costs associated with shift coverage.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.