Police Gear Storage

How to Design a Law Enforcement Locker Room

You were trained to fight crime, not design a law enforcement facility. Here’s what you need to know to design a comfortable, convenient space for officers and staff to prepare for busy shifts and unwind afterwards..

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Overview of law enforcement locker room design considerations:

police officer locker room

Room Size

The physical constraints of the locker room should be your first consideration. Also keep in mind that the rules for safe entry and egress that apply to any room in your facility also apply to the locker room.

Number of Officers & Staff

You’ll also need to consider is how many lockers you’ll need. That will be determined by how many officers and staff will be assigned lockers now and how many you predict you’ll need in the future. Some departments only allow sworn officers to have police lockers, while other departments assign lockers to officers as well as staff. If you’ll have gender-specific locker rooms, you’ll also need to think about the number of lockers you’ll need in each room and how that might change in the years to come. A growing number of women are being sworn in as officers.

locker room size law enforcement facility planning
Trend Spotlight

We’re often asked this question: How do we decide how many lockers to put in the women’s locker room in relation to the men’s? Is there a formula to predict our department’s future gender mix?

Inclusive Locker Rooms

The answer is that there’s really no way to predict future hiring patterns. But we’re seeing a trend toward gender-neutral locker rooms, where all the lockers are located in a common area adjacent to private showers and changing rooms. This arrangement solves three problems at once:

  • It eliminates the guesswork of trying to predict the gender ratio of your police department ten or twenty years into the future.
  • It allows everyone to take part in conversations before and after shifts (we’ve heard that the one or two women on a shift feel excluded from these conversations).
  • It creates a more inclusive environment.
police locker room custom officer lockers

What needs to be stored in each locker.

You’ll also want to think about what needs to be stored inside each law enforcement locker, versus what can be stored in duty lockers, weapons racks, or other areas in the facility. That’s because even though you might want to maximize the number of lockers you have in the locker room, you also want to be sure the lockers are large enough to store everything comfortably without feeling too crowded or cramped.

ADA Compliance

Americans with Disabilities Act regulations apply to locker rooms. As of this writing, the pertinent requirements include the following (be sure to check for updated requirements).

At least 5% of the lockers in each locker room must be wheelchair-accessible, or at least one of each type of locker (full height, half-height, etc.) in each room.

The minimum clear width for single wheelchair passage is 32 in (815 mm) at a point and 36 in (915 mm) continuously. The minimum width for two wheelchairs to pass is 60 in (1525 mm).

The minimum clear floor or ground space required to accommodate a single, stationary wheelchair and occupant is 30 in by 48 in (760 mm by 1220 mm). The minimum clear floor or ground space for wheelchairs may be positioned for forward or parallel approach to an object.

The space required for a wheelchair to make a 180-degree turn is a clear space of 60 in (1525 mm) diameter.

police-lockers-vented-hvac-system

Ventilation

When designing your law enforcement locker room, consider integrating each locker with the facility’s HVAC system to provide ventilation for drying body armor, towels, and other items stored in lockers. Ductwork can be concealed behind a soffit or the lockers’ sloped tops.

Seating

Seating in a locker room promotes comfort and convenience. Benches are the most popular solution, and benches can be freestanding, bolted to a wall, or integrated into individual lockers. Here are the four most popular seating options in law enforcement locker rooms:

police locker bench room
1. Freestanding Bench

This option takes up the most space, because people will need to access the bench from all sides.

locker-bench-wall-police-locker-room
2. Bench Along a Wall

This option also takes up a lot of space because the wall behind the bench is unused.

built-in-bench-lockers-law-enforcement
3. Locker with Bench and Drawer

Save space by integrating benches right into the lockers. You’ll also gain space for body armor drying racks, boots, or other gear in the drawer below the bench.

police lockers intergrated benches
4. Retractable Bench In Locker

This is another space-saving option. Pull a bench out when needed and then push it back into the locker.

Indirect Lighting Integration

The sloped tops of lockers can also be used to create indirect lighting. The indirect lighting pictured here increased the light quality of the locker rooms and helped this police department achieve LEED certification.

police locker room indirect lighting intergration

Looking for more information on law enforcement locker room design, including funding tips and best practices?

download police locker guide

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