Duty Loads carried by LA Sheriff's Department Deputies

Kate Baran, Joe Dulla, Rob Marc Orr, James Dawes, Rodney R Pope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Law enforcement officers are required to carry and wear additional functional and protective equipment which may include body armour, duty belts, a radio, weapons and other necessary items. While an occupational necessity, these additional loads may negatively impact task performance and increase the risk of musculoskeletal injury. The purpose of this study was to profile the loads carried by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Deputies and investigate whether any sex differences existed. Retrospective data for 246 Sheriff’s Deputies (males n=203, females n=43) from the LASD attending Patrol School were analysed for this study. Available data included deputy age, how many years the deputy had been sworn as an officer, and an itemised list of duty load. Also recorded were deputy weight in their uniform both with and without duty load. The mean load carried by LASD Patrol School Deputies was 10.72±1.73 kg (range 5.73 kg-16.27 kg). In absolute terms, female deputies carried significantly lighter loads than male deputies (female mean load =9.99±1.66 kg, male mean load=10.87±1.71 kg; p=.002). When load weight was expressed in relative terms, female deputies were found to be carrying significantly heavier loads than male deputies (13.36±2.46 % vs 11.50±2.24 % of body weight, p<.001, respectively). The loads carried by the deputies, while lower than those carried by military personnel, are heavier than other police populations represented in the literature. These loads can lead to a high risk of injury and may negatively impact on the ability of deputies to perform tasks effectively and safely. Optimised physical conditioning is vital for new candidates and currently serving deputies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-38
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Australian Strength and Conditioning
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


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