What Are the Best Gift Ideas for Cops?

What to Get and Give to Your Favorite Police Officer

Whether it's a graduation from the police academy, an upcoming birthday or anniversary, a new promotion or you're just in the Christmas spirit, finding the right gift is hard. It can be that much harder when you're searching for just the right present to give to the police officer in your life.  

Most police departments try to make sure their officers have everything they need to do their jobs, from equipment to training. The good news is there are still plenty of gadgets out there that you can give to make your favorite officer's job easier, or just a little more comfortable. To help you along, here's a list - in no particular order - of some of the best gift ideas for cops.

Tactical Knife: $30 - $150

Tactical knife
A good knife is an indispensable tool. Adventure Strong via Creative Commons

Every cop needs a good knife. It's a little known fact outside of law enforcement, but most officers appreciate knives more than they do firearms. A good tactical knife is an indispensable tool of the trade.

Knives have plenty of practical, everyday uses in law enforcement, such as cutting crime scene tape. And in an emergency situation, a good knife will cut right through a seat belt to save a trapped motorist. Look for folding knives with serrated blades. You can even find knives with built-in seat belt cutters and window punches - a great all-in-one tool for day-to-day police work.

Patrol Car Seat Organizer: $25 - $90

Seat organizer
Every cop needs a seat organizer for their patrol car. Galls Public Safety Equipment

A police officer's patrol car is her office. And just like any office, it can get messy and cluttered real fast if not properly organized. A good officer will be concerned about how her car looks as an extension of her professionalism.

Practically speaking, she'll want to have access to the stuff she needs in order to do her job. Traffic citations, arrest affidavits, policy manuals, flashlights, extra cuffs and ammunition magazines - all of it has to go somewhere, and preferably some place where it's easy to find and easy to access.

A good seat organizer will have a place for everything so your favorite cop can put everything in its place - and grab it quickly when she needs it.

Cool Cop Vest Cooling System: $59

Cool Cop
Cool Cop provides much-needed relief on hot days. Cool Cop Boy Air Conditioning

Ask anyone who has ever worn body armor in the summer and they'll tell you: it's HOT. Really, really hot. Especially after a couple of hours of traffic enforcement or working on a perimeter or a crash scene, the sweat builds up and the vest and uniform can get very uncomfortable very fast.

The Cool Cop Body Armor Air Conditioning system provides fast relief with a hose contraption that channels cool air from the patrol car's AC under the officer's vest when he's sitting in his car.

This is a must-have for any officer working south of the Mason-Dixon line! There's even a Cool K-9 system for your favorite K-9 officer and his partner on paws. 

Electric Travel Mug: $10 - $25

Electric travel mug
Electric travel mugs keep coffee warm all shift long. Sport City

It's no secret that cops love their coffee. In fact, that most popular of police stereotypes about cops and doughnut shops was never about doughnuts. It was always about where to get a good cup of coffee.

Sometimes, though, their duty takes them away from their beloved cup o' joe prematurely, leaving it to get cold. A good electric travel mug can fix that for your favorite cop by keeping his java nice and hot throughout the shift, ready for him to take a satisfying sip whenever he needs it.

Water Proof Writing Set: $20 - $40

Rite in Rain all-weather notebook
Police work in all weather, and their equipment needs to, also. Galls Public Safety Equipment

It's often joked that a good police officer never gets wet. If that were true, though, it would mean that there's a lot of bad officers running around on the streets. The truth is, police work doesn't stop just because the weather gets a little dicey, and in fact when the rain hits, so do the traffic crashes.

That means more paperwork and, without the right pen and paper, more mess. Waterproof pen and paper sets can help your favorite cop jot down the information he needs no matter what the weather may be.

Hinge Cuffs: $40 - $60

Hinge Cuffs
Hinge cuffs offer more safety. Campco Photos via Creative Commons

It's unfortunate, but handcuffs are a huge part of any cop's job. Of course, police departments issue cuffs to their officers, but no cop would turn down another good set of handcuffs, and hinge cuffs add another layer of safety that the standard-issue chain-and-swivel cuffs don't.

Hinge cuffs make it harder for prisoners to maneuver their hands, so they can't get them in front of them and thus make the chance of escape that much harder. If you've got an officer in your life who makes a lot of arrests, you can be assured she'll appreciate a nice set of hinge cuffs to add to her duty belt.

Search Gloves: $25 - $75

Search Gloves
Good search gloves reduce risk of injury and disease. Galls Public Safety Equipment

Whether during an arrest or a stop-and-frisk, searching people is part of any officer's job. It's rarely a pleasant experience, and it's made that much less so by the grooming standards - or lack thereof - that some members of the public adhere to and the disarray in which they keep their vehicles.

Add to that the hazards associated with searching people and cars due to the possibility of needles and other objects that can hurt an officer, along with the desire to avoid contaminating evidence with fingerprints, and you can see how important a good set of search gloves can be.  

Handcuff Keys: $5 - $15

Galls pocket Handcuff key
Pocket keys are easily accessible. Galls Public Safety Equipment

Sure, any handcuffs you purchase will come with a set of keys, but if you've ever seen a standard-issue handcuff key, you can understand how easily it can be lost or misplaced, and how difficult it can be to fish out of your pocket, especially when you need it most.

A nice, large key, especially one that can be carried in your officer's breast pocket like a pen, is a must-have for a high-activity officer. Trust me, the ability to get to his handcuff key quickly when he's trying to cuff someone who is less than accommodating will be greatly appreciated.

Language Learning Software: $125 - $500

Computer Disc
Language software can help gives cops an edge. Aussiegal via Creative Commons

Yes, it's expensive, but if you've got an officer in your life who works in a ​particularly culturally diverse area, the ability to communicate with the citizens she serves is indispensable to public service and the community approach to policing.

Speaking another language isn't a requirement for the job, but it sure can make the job easier. There are plenty of programs out there that can help officers learn a language fast, and their ability to speak a second language can make them more marketable should they want to seek another career, such as a federal law enforcement job.

Concealed Carry Clothing: $14 - $80

Propper a concealed carry button up
Concealed carry clothes make carrying off duty comfortable. Galls Public Safety Equipment

Cops are cops, 24-hours a day. The job doesn't necessarily stop just because the shift is over. Even when off duty, a lot of officers carry their duty weapons with them wherever they go, ready to take action if needed.

They don't like to advertise that fact, though, which is why any off-duty or plainclothes cops - such as a detective or investigator - appreciate ways to carry her weapons discretely.

Concealed carry clothing offers just that ability, with secret pockets and holsters sewn right into the shirts and pants to make carrying off duty practical and comfortable.

Tactical Duty Gear Bag: $40 - $150

Tactical bags
Tactical bags are great for cops on the go. Galls Public Safety Equipment

Cops carry a lot of gear, and they need to have it at the ready. Whether it's equipment they need to secure in the house or their trunk when they're off duty, or they need to transfer from their take-home car to a spare or a pool car, the ability to make their equipment more portable is a must for the active patrol officer.

Tactical duty gear bags have compartments for just about everything an officer might need to get through a good day's work, and they can make starting and ending a shift - or swapping cars - a breeze.

Golf Clubs and Golf Gear: $14 - $900

Golf swing
Everyone needs a hobby to relieve stress. Fevi in Pictures via Creative Commons

Okay, so this one has nothing to do with the job per se, but law enforcement is a stressful job, and between the dangers of law enforcement fatigue and the possibility that law enforcement jobs can lead to poor health, your favorite neighborhood police officer has to find a way to unwind somehow.

It doesn't necessarily have to be golf (but why wouldn't it be?), but one of the best things you can do for that special someone in your life who happens to be a cop is to encourage him or her to find a hobby outside of work and shed the stress and the rigors of the job.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

No matter what you decide to give your favorite police officer, what they need most is your love and support. Their hours are long and their days are tough, but knowing that they have people out there who appreciate what they do and the sacrifices they make helps to make the job easier to bare. If you give nothing else, be sure to give them your thanks. In the end, they need that more than anything else, and the knowledge that there are people out there who think that police officers still make a difference really is the gift that keeps on giving all year long.