NJCOPS OFF DUTY OCTOBER 2013 When we were in the Academy there was always an instructor telling us that we were ALWAYS ON DUTY 24/7 and upon graduation you swore to always be OTJ! Of course as time goes on and life creeps in sometimes we want to be just dad, mom, uncle, aunt, brother or sister, but keep in mind if we want to protect the ones we love and care for then it is necessary to carry your weapon off duty. Society is a funny place; people love cops when they need something but we are annoying to the public the rest of the time. The Federal Government says we can carry at all times yet society sets up theses gun free zones such as schools, private facilities like the 911 Memorial, airports and military institutions. To a bad guy these gun free zones equal LOTS of targets! We do not have to look any further than last month’s Washington DC shooting at the Naval Yard. As a “off duty” police officer we are regulated to try and sneak weapons into these facilities or try to explain to a supervisor that you should be allowed in without having to give up your weapon. Although it is annoying and it is extra time and extra lines make the effort because if something does happen we want to be able to protect the thing that is most important to all of us…your family! If your department is anything like my department you are ruled by SOP’s and our SOP says to carry at all time, just like yours does, but screw the SOP’s you are carrying to protect your family and loved ones! When you carry your weapon off duty there are many considerations that you must take into account. First, what will you carry off duty…is it your duty weapon or do you have an off duty weapon. I caution everyone about their off duty choice. Everyone wants something small to conceal but keep in mind if a weapon is too small for your hand then it is hard to control shot placement. Second, how will you carry…in the waistband, in a pants pocket like a cargo, in a FAG bag, which stands for Fast Action Gun by the way or another sort of holster like a shoulder holster. Other options also include a jacket pockets, belly bands, ankle holsters or a combination of everything depending on weather conditions. Lastly, now that you made that decision you must train and also keep in mind extra magazines, flashlight, knife, handcuffs and medical supplies like a quickclot. Now this way if the unthinkable happens you are prepared for it. By the way, as I am writing this article I am also listening to the news about a mall being shot up by some extremists that want to kill innocent victims. Stay Safe. Be a SHEEPDOG!