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My name is Dr. Kevin J. Rupert. I am 36 years old and have been a patrol officer for the Arlington police department for 2 years now. Throughout my life I have tried to stay physically active. I played sports in high-school and served 4 years in the U.S. Army. It was not until I became a police officer that I started having low back pain. I immediately noticed that standing for even short periods of time caused fatigue, pain, and discomfort in my lower back. It was not long before I identified the culprit. The problem was the officer duty belt. The average duty belt carries a lot of equipment and subsequently a large amount of weight (i.e. , gun, holster, extra magazines with ammo, handcuffs, baton, flashlight, radio, o.c. spray, etc). Not only is all the weight worn around the waist, but the only way to keep it feeling secure is to tighten your belt. You in turn lose range-of-motion and circulation to your lower back lower extremities.

Because I am also a Chiropractor, I know that bio-mechanically the pelvis is not a natural location for load distribution on the human body. The shoulders and upper back have always been primary anatomical areas to carry and distribute these loads. This is why military personal, students, and hikers have accurately chosen the “back-pack” to carry their books and supplies throughout the ages. For whatever reason, police have continued to add more equipment to their duty belts over the years, and subsequent weight, without taking into consideration the bio-mechanical and medical consequences of doing so. I have seen first hand the taxing effects of the police duty belt on police officers. It starts out innocent enough with mild low back pain, painful knees, and sore feet. Over time this develops into chronic muscle fatigue, damaged cartilage in the knees, degenerative disc disease in the low back, and subsequently osteophytic formation in the vertebrae (i.e. bone spurs). The cities employing these officers feel the pressure through increased cases in workmen’s compensation. You find most police officers retire due to health problems and not because they have chosen to do so.

The Back Defender has been designed to carry the load of the duty belt on the shoulders and not the pelvis. Also because it acts like a pair of suspenders, the duty belt is allowed to be worn loosely around the waist without concern of stability. This allows for increased circulation and range of motion, combined with the benefits of supporting the load of the belt on the officer’s shoulders. Range of motion is of utmost concern for any patrol officer involved in either a foot chase or physical alteration with a felon. For me personally, the belt represents a huge increase in officer safety because of this. Secondarily, it has alleviated all low back pain I have experienced while standing for long periods of time. It is a product that only needs to be tried once in order to be sold. This is new, cutting-edge technology for law enforcement. Inventors of the Back Defender have built this product from the ground up. There is nothing else like it on the market. Within 5 years this product will become standard issue for all local and federal law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Dr. Kevin J. Ruppert B.S, D.C.