Cargo shorts, an N.Y.P.D. Anti-Crime Cap and a Highway Summer Cap are three of the featured products on the new N.Y.P.D. Equipment Section Web site.
Internet shopping is about to solidify its claim in the culture of the New York Police Department with the creation of a new online catalog for clothing and equipment, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced this afternoon. Like buying clothes on a Sears website, the department's roughly 36,000 officers beginning on Friday will be able to order such items for law enforcement needs as cargo shorts ($24.45), a Smith & Wesson holster ($45) or a 9-millimeter gun belt ($13.50) on the N.Y.P.D. Equipment Section Web site. The department will not charge for shipping, Mr. Kelly said.
"I see this as a major breakthrough in convenience," said Mr. Kelly, whose days in the uniformed ranks are a thing of the past but who remembers the hardships of buying the clothes in person.
The new Web site is a result of a focus group Mr. Kelly established to study the issue. Until now, officers have had to trek down to One Police Plaza, in Lower Manhattan, run through a gantlet of tight security and stand in line at the first-floor Equipment Section. Now, they can search via computer, point, click and check the mail.
The site is heavily secured, the police said. Officers and civilian members of the department will have to complete an enrollment form, establish a username and password and provide internal identification numbers. The site itself will be secured via a anti-fraud encryption, said Mr. Kelly, which will also protect credit card information.
People outside the department cannot enter the site. Instead, they are redirected to the city's official online store, where they can buy novelty items and tchotchkes like soup mugs, T-shirts and hats.
Mr. Kelly said a limit will be placed on how much can be bought. The idea is the department wants to limit any would be e-commerce entrepreneurs, and ensure that officers purchase items for themselves and not resell the merchandise.
Also, some items will be off-limits: Handguns, batons, handcuffs, pepper-spray and asps, a small collapsible baton.
Joseph Mancini, a spokesman for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which represents 23,000 rank-and-file officers, explained that police officers get a $1,000-a-year uniform allowance, though he said that sum is taxable. After taxes, the cash allowance comes to about $660 a year, he said, though that usually covers what officers need.
Equipment such as radios, guns and bullet-resistant vests are provided by the department, said Mr. Mancini.
The department considered enlisting a departmental delivery truck, to make visits to precincts, but that was considered too cumbersome, officials said. The department does not make a profit on the sales of equipment, officials said.