Over several decades, police officer body dimensions have increased as have the body dimensions of many Americans. But the external dimensions of a law enforcement officer completely outfitted in all of his or her gear has increased dramatically, with the near-constant use of body armor and the addition of body cameras, radios and a host of other work-related items. At the same time, the available space in his or her police cruiser has decreased, with the addition of dash cameras, radios, and computers and the modernization of the bucket seat design. The result is a disaccommodation problem that is increasing with each addition of new equipment for either the officer or the vehicle.
Digital human modeling is an ideal tool to help solve this accommodation problem, by creating realistic models of officers wearing their gear. To create a database for use in that modeling, we recruited approximately 1000 officers from 12 locations around the US and obtained whole body, head, hand, and foot scans from each. In addition, we measured them for a series of traditional anthropometric dimensions both semi-nude and fully equipped in their uniform, body armor and gear. The differences obtained between the equipped and semi-nude officers will allow the verification of future models. Further, we collected data on the vehicles they use, any difficulties with their current vehicles, and the ancillary equipment worn on the body. This paper presents partial results of that study.
The significant challenge going forward will be to create models that take into account the wide diversity in how officers wear their equipment on the body. For example, many officers carry a weapon on the duty belt; some carry it in a thigh holster. Some officers carry a radio on the shirt; others carry it on the duty belt, sometimes in front, and sometimes on the side. We conclude with a suggestion that modelers use data from this survey to accommodate the variability added by the equipment.