What do I get a rookie cop?
December 9, 2010 8:52 AM   Subscribe

What do I get a soon-to-be cop? My friend's 20-something son is graduating tomorrow from the police academy. I want to get him a nice present, not too expensive. And nothing illegal!

Obviously, I can't get him a gun (the police dept. will do that), and I was thinking of a practical gift -- a Swiss Army knife -- but I think his mom is getting that. Any ideas? Can't be expensive, I'm on Social Security!
posted by Smalltown Girl to Work & Money (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Don't know how religious he is but St. Michael is the patron saint of police officers. Lots of cops I know have the medals on and as long as yah don't go for super fancy solid gold its not too pricey.
posted by Captain_Science at 8:56 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

you could always get a gift cert from the places cops etc shop: galls and copsplus both come to mind...

posted by chasles at 9:16 AM on December 9, 2010

There are various tactical knives that might be handy, particularly ones that can make short work of a seatbelt if he's dealing with a car accident. You could also agree to help pay for advanced private training beyond what is taught in the academy, e.g. advanced firearm retention techniques.
posted by Hylas at 9:33 AM on December 9, 2010

Oh, also, if your jurisdiction and/or his agency both allows it and does not provide it, some kind of voice activated digital audio recorder (for his protection); very comfortable high performance pens for all the paperwork might also be welcome.

I'd consider asking any local cop friends what stuff they wish they'd thought of when they were a rookie.
posted by Hylas at 9:36 AM on December 9, 2010

Nebo Redline Tactical Flashlight is about $24 at Amazon. Good flashlight's are always welcome gifts no matter what your profession.
posted by any major dude at 9:45 AM on December 9, 2010

A gift certificate from SureFire so he can use part of the money towards a brand of flashlight many cops use would be appreciated I am sure.
posted by mlis at 9:55 AM on December 9, 2010

I don't know that I could resist gifting a soon-to-be cop with a Dunkin' Donuts travel mug and gift certificate.
posted by apparently at 10:16 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

A really good pen, one that writes at all angles and when it is wet out.
posted by jennstra at 10:22 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

oh and the only pen all cops carry (and lots of geeks too) the Zebra F series (geeks usually like the F-402 with cushy grip, cops like the Zebra F-701 as it slides into and out of pockets nicely) - available at office depot type stores. (hint, buy more than 1 as they are likely to get lost. this is an extremely thoughtful cop gift!)

posted by chasles at 10:46 AM on December 9, 2010 [9 favorites]

A new police officer is going to be working a lot of nights. Maybe something that will help him sleep during the day like a white noise machine?
posted by maurice at 11:37 AM on December 9, 2010

A while back I had pulled over because my muffler fell off, and a policeman stopped to very proudly offer to help with his super-cool tool kit: a couple of screwdrivers, pliers, spanners, a small crowbar, cable ties... I don't know if it's the case everywhere, but I was really surprised to learn such things aren't actually issued. If so, that's definitely something to consider because he was way psyched to be so well-prepared.

Well, not to weld my muffler per se, but we did manage pry the thing all the way free and make the car drivable.
posted by teremala at 12:05 PM on December 9, 2010

Knives are pretty personal, and I wouldn't buy one without knowing him well. Flashlights, though, flashlights are indispensable. There's also pens, but I wouldn't get him anything expensive -- one or two of these Embassy Pens might be ideal.
posted by SpecialK at 2:42 PM on December 9, 2010

Mod note: few comments removed - folks OP is asking for "a nice present" not some sort of hectoring snarky gift reflecting your own personal opinions of police.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:47 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

U.S. Cavalry is another great place to get some ideas from. Just glancing at it, I already found some really awesome kevlar reinforced gloves.
posted by snsranch at 3:08 PM on December 9, 2010

My husband is a police officer and he very heartily seconds the Zebra pen suggestion. If you can, buy 3 or 4 so he'll always have an extra if one gets "borrowed" or lost.

A caution about buying anything that's considered equipment: a lot of jurisdictions will have their own rules and regulations about the kinds of personal and/or job-related items he can carry beyond what the department issues.

Also adding an inexpensive idea for other occasions: My husband has a collection of Matchbox and Hot Wheels police vehicles (it's amazing how many there are to choose from, and it's fun to find older ones at garage sales and flea markets).

Here's a piece of unsolicited advice from my husband:

The most important and effective tool you'll ever use in the line of duty is not a piece of equipment. It's empathy. If you ever reach a point where you can't have empathy for the people you encounter, that's the point where you become a bad cop. Don't ever lose sight of the fact the you're supposed to be one of the good guys. The world needs more good guys. If you make that your number one priority, you'll be an asset to your community and you'll never have to worry about losing your self-respect. Good luck and stay safe, rookie!
posted by amyms at 3:30 PM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]

jessamyn said: folks OP is asking for "a nice present" not some sort of hectoring snarky gift reflecting your own personal opinions of police.

I didn't see the answers that were removed, so I hope I'm not way off-base here, but I wanted to mention that while snarky gifts definitely don't fall into the "nice present" category they're generally well-received in a spirit of good fun by most cops (at least by the ones who have a sense of humor -- and, sadly, some don't -- so it's a "know your recipient" kind of thing).

Our knick knack shelves have a donut-eating pig figurine and South Park's Cartman-as-cop (he yells "Respect my authoritah!" at the press of a button and our cockatiel loves him) sharing space with other "nice" cop-related gifts and memorabilia.
posted by amyms at 4:12 PM on December 9, 2010

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