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Can cops wear any sunglasses?

Sunglasses are an essential accessory for police officers, offering protection and improved visibility during their daily duties. Not only do sunglasses shield the eyes from harmful UV rays, but they also help officers maintain visual acuity and situational awareness in various environments. However, when it comes to selecting sunglasses for law enforcement, there are specific regulations and considerations that officers must keep in mind.

In this blog post, we will explore the topic of sunglasses for cops, specifically focusing on the ANSI Z87.1 safety standard, department regulations, factors to consider when choosing sunglasses, different types of sunglasses available for law enforcement, and the overall importance of wearing proper eyewear in this profession.

ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard

The ANSI Z87.1 safety standard is an essential criterion for sunglasses chosen by law enforcement officers. This standard ensures that the eyewear meets specific durability and impact resistance requirements against blunt impact, dust, small particles, and other potentially damaging conditions. To identify sunglasses that meet this standard, officers should look for the “Z87” stamp or etching on the frames.

Adhering to the ANSI Z87.1 safety standard is crucial for police officers as they often face hazardous situations. Whether it is dealing with crowd control, apprehending suspects, or conducting rescue operations, officers need sunglasses that can withstand potential impacts and protect their eyes from various hazards that they might encounter in the line of duty.

Department Regulations

Each police department may have its own regulations regarding sunglasses for officers. While the ANSI Z87.1 safety standard is generally considered a baseline requirement, departments may have additional guidelines or preferences for their officers. It is essential for officers to familiarize themselves with their department’s policies to ensure compliance.

Department regulations regarding sunglasses can vary across different jurisdictions. Some departments may require officers to wear specific styles or brands of sunglasses, while others may have more flexibility in terms of the eyewear’s appearance. Additionally, regulations may also address issues such as lens color, tint level, and polarization.

When selecting sunglasses, officers should consider their department’s regulations and obtain eyewear that aligns with these guidelines. Doing so ensures that officers are in compliance with their department’s policies and avoid any disciplinary actions.

Factors to Consider

Beyond department regulations, there are several factors that officers should consider when choosing sunglasses for law enforcement purposes. These factors include durability and impact resistance, protection against UV rays, clarity and visual acuity, and overall comfort and fit.

Durability and impact resistance are paramount for police officers who may encounter situations where their eyewear could be subjected to potential impacts or rough handling. Sunglasses should be constructed with robust materials and have features like scratch-resistant lenses to withstand the demands of the job.

Protection against UV rays is another crucial factor to consider. Law enforcement officers spend significant amounts of time outdoors, exposing their eyes to harmful UV radiation. Sunglasses with UV protection help prevent long-term damage to the eyes and reduce the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye-related conditions.

Clarity and visual acuity are essential for officers who rely on their vision to perform their duties effectively. Sunglasses that provide sharp and distortion-free vision allow officers to clearly identify objects and individuals in various lighting conditions. Polarized lenses can be particularly beneficial as they reduce glare, improving visibility and enhancing overall performance.

Comfort and fit should not be overlooked when selecting sunglasses for law enforcement. Sunglasses that are uncomfortable or do not fit properly can become a distraction for officers, affecting their focus and performance. Additionally, sunglasses that slide or fall off during physical activities can compromise officer safety. It is crucial to choose sunglasses that are lightweight, have adjustable features, and fit securely on the face.

Types of Sunglasses for Cops

There are various types of sunglasses suitable for law enforcement officers, each with its own unique features and benefits. Some popular options include military-grade sunglasses, tactical sunglasses, and polarized sunglasses.

Military-grade sunglasses are designed to meet stringent military requirements, making them a suitable choice for police officers. These sunglasses are often made with high-quality materials, offer superior durability, and provide comprehensive eye protection in demanding environments.

Tactical sunglasses are specifically designed for law enforcement and other tactical professionals. They typically feature ballistic-rated lenses, providing excellent impact resistance and protection against projectiles. Tactical sunglasses often have interchangeable lenses, enabling officers to adapt to changing light conditions quickly.

Polarized sunglasses are another popular choice for officers, as they help reduce glare and enhance visual clarity. By reducing the intensity of reflected light, polarized lenses improve visibility, especially in bright sunlight or near reflective surfaces, such as water or glass.

It is essential for officers to consider their specific needs and preferences when selecting the type of sunglasses that best suit their duties and working conditions.

Importance of Proper Sunglasses for Officers

The importance of wearing proper sunglasses for law enforcement officers cannot be overstated. Here are some key reasons why officers should prioritize selecting appropriate eyewear:

1. Eye Protection and Prevention of Eye Strain: Sunglasses that meet safety standards and provide adequate UV protection help shield officers’ eyes from potentially harmful elements, such as dust, debris, and UV rays. Additionally, proper eyewear can reduce eye strain caused by prolonged exposure to bright lights or glare.

2. Enhanced Visibility and Situational Awareness: Sunglasses with clear and distortion-free lenses allow officers to see details more accurately, improving their visibility in different environments. By reducing glare and enhancing contrast, sunglasses help officers spot potential threats, identify important visual cues, and maintain situational awareness.

3. Psychological Benefits for Officers: Wearing sunglasses can offer psychological benefits to law enforcement officers by providing a sense of anonymity and protection. Sunglasses can help officers feel more confident and secure while dealing with challenging situations or when engaging with the public.


Sunglasses play a vital role in the daily lives of police officers, offering eye protection, improved visibility, and psychological benefits. It is crucial for officers to adhere to the ANSI Z87.1 safety standard and comply with their department’s regulations when selecting sunglasses. Factors like durability, UV protection, clarity, and comfort should also be considered to ensure officers have the best eyewear for their needs. By wearing proper sunglasses, law enforcement officers can perform their duties more effectively while safeguarding their eyes in the process.


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