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Bathroom Issues for Law Enforcement

Bathroom Issues for Law Enforcement

There’s a big issue in police work that’s generally ignored but that we all know exists. Oh, we talk about it alright, although not so much in mixed company, but we sure don’t write about it. In fact, I can’t believe I’m even bringing it up, but it’s something that rookies need to know about and veterans have all agonized over. When “nature calls,” it can be a big dilemma for your average crimefighter. Here are a few things to ponder, share, and discuss at tomorrow’s roll call.

Where Do I “Take Care of Business?”

Ideally, it’s great if you work in a jurisdiction or in an area that keeps you close to the station or close to a government building of some sort (the courthouse, city hall, a fire station) that has minimum standards for cleanliness and a relatively welcome atmosphere for cops. However, most of us aren’t that lucky. What’s your alternative? You need to make sure you can go someplace where you can secure the door and have significant privacy.

This is an officer safety issue! If you’re going to remove your gun, gun belt and/or be distracted, you need to make sure you’re in a secure area. Most convenience stores, coffee shops or other cop-friendly establishments have decent restrooms and if you get to know and trust the workers, you can feel relatively secure stopping by when you need to.

What Do I Do With All of This Gear?

Let’s face it, at some point during your shift, you’re probably going to have to take off your gear and drop your pants. How do you secure all of it? This is another of the many good reasons to make sure your holster, your mag pouches, and your keepers are in good shape. When you take your gun belt off, you want to make sure everything is going to stay in place. Develop a system or a routine for taking everything off and putting it back on; try to do it the same way every time. Try not to lay your belt on the floor, and make sure it’s always within reach.

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Get everything back on and in place when you’re done, well before you get back out into the public eye. You don’t want to be looking down and snapping on the last of your keepers when you walk back outside and bump right into a guy about to rob the store! If you absolutely have to use a “public” restroom (one with multiple stalls) make sure you get all of your gear back on and secured in place before leaving the stall. And if you’re in plainclothes, don’t make the mistake that so many other cops have made; don’t leave your gun in the stall!

What Do I Do If I’m On a Call or Surveillance?

In certain situations, you may get stuck spending many hours in the same location. During my rookie days I remember the first time I took a residential burglary report on my own. After the scene was secure and the detectives and evidence tech’s had come and gone, I sat with the victim family and finished up my report at their kitchen table while drinking coffee and reassuring them that they would be safe. All those cups of coffee finally caught up with me and I was forced to ask to use their bathroom.

The crime scene was no longer active, and the victims were extremely accommodating, but what if I’d been at a homicide scene, or at an active domestic dispute, or worse, standing on an outer perimeter in the middle of winter during a hostage/barricade situation or directing traffic for hours at an accident scene. This is where “prevention” and “anticipation” are going to be your two best friends. Follow cowboy logic: don’t wait until you have to go, go when you have the chance!

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  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Don't wait until you have to go. Good advise.

  • Hpim0502_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I must say, as odd as this article was, it was still quite interesting.

  • 0001_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I know of a former Armored Truck driver who left his entire duty belt hanging on a nail on the back of the stall door at a Panda Express. It was still there when he went back two hours later after realizing he was light. Two weeks later he did the same thing again - the very same nail - this time he wasn't so lucky and it was gone within 30 minutes - hence he is a former armored truck driver.

  • View_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Don't know if anyone else does this but when i need to go #1, i use a stall because i don't want anyone creeping up behind me when I'm vulnerable. Something you guys might wanna think about

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    I got stuck doing traffic control at a car fatal, and I think that was the closest I came to peeing my pants. I was tyring so hard to get another patrol to relieve me but because we were short on patrols it took almost 45 minutes. Thankfully when I got relieved, there was a gas station a few yards away and avoided a bad situation. A female officer who i worked with got a case of kidney stones due to the fact that she was holding back while on patrol. I give female officers credit for the special circumstances they have to deal with when it comes to bathroom use.

  • Hcn_ezr_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Had a deal once with a prisoner in the back. Soooooo I'm on an interstate, i pull into the median semi wooded area, tell my badguy that I can still shoot pretty good with my tallywacker out so if he tried anything stupid I would shoot him and continue to go until I was done. Luckily it was a caged car so I just kept an eye on him and I think he got the message. Over 28 years I've been in a few situations but always seemed to make it work. Just remember to keep your eyes open and be flexable.

  • Belgian-malinois-picture_max50


    over 3 years ago


    they have the we wipes these days.i would use those.quicker and easier to clean up.

  • Pic-0239_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I use disabled ones since they have hooks on the doors for people with oxygen etc..I use it for coats/belts , and use the back of the toilet for gun/keys/radio(I clip the radio to my top shirt pocket since we have ear pieces.) we usually go "10-6 Locker Room" "emergency code brown"(hospital terminology), when it's really bad. My favorite is "doing paperwork in the library."

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    One department that I worked for had a policy of hanging your duty belt around your neck and under one arm. At the academy the instructors said to always try and use the handicapped stall, as they usually had a solid wall on one side to protect your duty belt. also always use a stall to urinate, as you had your back protected. When I worked the airport detail, the pilots lounge had individual bathrooms with a sink and toilet abd locking doors. The sink was just the right hieght to lay out a duty belt and then put it back on.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    This article really got mee thinking.

  • Police_link_badge_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Az_hp_plymouth_fury_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I have always kept a roll of toilet paper tucked behind the front passenger headrest and the cage for those "just in case I have nowhere else to go" situations and I have to be at one with nature. I also have used two PR-24's as "stilts' when I had to go #2 and did not want my rump near the ground, especially at night, to avoid being bit or surprised by a creepy crawly. Also a good idea to remember to watch out for the backsplash when going #2 so it doesn't hit the back of your pants or duty belt (I know that sounds gross, but it's happened to me and others who got too liberal with the hot sauce at the local Filiberto's!).

  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Go when you can & know where to go.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    Honestly, I never even thought about it. I'd imagine that when "nature calls" you'd just go. If you were using a public stall, I'd figure that you'd take the last one if available. Not for anything, but if a Cop/Fireman knocked on my door & wanted to use my bathroom, I'd really have no problem with it at all. GuardDog

  • 25170_112479622123678_100000849222575_83318_5516045_s_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I knew a Trooper who was out in the middle of nowhere with a stomach virus. He knocked on a random persons door and asked to use the bathroom and they let him.

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