Now that I've seen several supportive comments about wearing a vest while working, I feel the need to address another concern: heat injuries. With large portions of the United States under heat warnings the past few days, and looking like that's going to continue the next few days, be aware and take the proper precautions to stay cool. I fully understand that it's not as simple as staying inside in the air conditioning or even staying in your patrol vehicle in the air conditioning. We often don't have the option of being able to stay out of the heat. So we need to be aware of the risks, take the proper precautions and keep ourselves alive and uninjured. First, if you're not in shape, you can't do it overnight - but you should at least recognize that being overweight adds to your chances of sustaining heat injuries. Fat layers help us retain body heat and hinder our ability to cool off efficiently. If you're overweight - like I was a year ago - do something about it. Fad diets are not the answer; pay attention to your intake, increase your activity levels. I'm down 20 pounds in 12 months as a result. I've taken my belt in two notches and can perform sustained physical activity longer with less felt effort. Second, stay hydrated but not OVER hydrated. The easiest measure I know of is this: If you don't have to urinate every four to six hours, you haven't had enough water to drink. If you have to urinate every two hours or less you may be overhydrated OR you might have a physical issue that needs to be discussed with your doctor. Coffee, soda and alcoholic beverages DO NOT hydrate you. In fact, they dehydrate you. Water, flavored water and/or drinks like Gatorade that replace electrolytes are best. Be aware that you CAN overhydrate your body, causing an imbalance in your electrolytes and it CAN kill you. Third, measure the value of your headgear. I've read that as much as 90% of our body heat leaves us through our head. That's why we wear warm head gear in the winter. We WANT that body heat to be shed during the hot summer months but we DON'T want sunburn on our scalp or damage to our eyes due to over-exposure to UV rays. I'm one of those folks who's losing my hair and I keep what's left cut short. As a result, if I'm going outside I make it a habit to put on a ballcap type hat. It's a cloth hat that can be washed easily (so the sweat doesn't stink it up). It is NOT a 'foam dome' hat - which insulates well and holds in the heat. Fourth, consider wearing your vest OUTSIDE your uniform shirt if that's an option. Doing so will allow you to take it off when you're inside a secure building - where no risk exists - so your body can cool down some and the vest can cool down as well. There is absolutely no excuse for not putting that vest back on before you venture into any public area. Any other options, observations, recommendations or thoughts you have are welcome. Above all, we need to recognize ALL of the risks of the law enforcement profession and maintain ourselves to be able to perform without unnecessarily risking our well-being.