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Thread: Is it time to insist on Standardized Police Uniforms?

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Is it time to insist on Standardized Police Uniforms?

    Yesterday King County settled a lawsuit over an incident that resulted in permanent injuries to a citizen.

    [url]http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014031804_settlement26m.html[/quote]

    According to testimony during the civil trial, Paul and fellow Deputy Joseph Eshom were wearing black tactical uniforms, not traditional deputy uniforms. Attorneys for Sarah Harris argued that Chris Harris likely didn't realize Paul and Eshom were officers.

    While this person was not carrying a firearm and the reason that the Officers were chasing him was a case of mistaken ID, this does illustrate a problem that all of us here could face at one time or another.

    How do you know that anyone shouting at you to "stop" (or any other command for that matter) is really a police officer? It appears that there is no standard of dress for a Patrol Officer and the trend seems more towards dressing in a tactical manner. In order to be more "tactical" some are even doing away with things like "collar brass" and rather than a badge, merely embroidering one on the uniform, often in darker toned thread than white, silver, or gold. Also missing is a prominent "Badge Number" or readable name tag.

    When traveling in Seattle it is possible to see 5 or 6 different uniform styles when you take into consideration Metro Transit, KCSO, and SPD. Some with "Bus Driver Hats, Some with Baseball Caps, and some with "Operator's" stocking caps, and then Motor Officers with Helmets. About the only police force in Washington that is truly recognizable at all times is the State Patrol.,

    One thing I found interesting while in Europe, all police officers looked like police officers. The "tactical officers" didn't wear their "BDU's" until they were responding to an incident that required their presence.

    Is it time for a standard for our Police Officer's patrol uniforms?

    Here's some reading on the subject:http://www.policeone.com/police-prod...olice-uniform/

    The author looks at both sides of the issue, visibility vs concealment. For me, a patrol officer should be visible and recognizable as such.
    Last edited by amlevin; 01-26-2011 at 01:41 PM. Reason: spelling
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    I wholeheartedly agree. Police should be visible and recognizable. News stories are easily found where someone pretending to be a policeman stopped someone and then killed or abducted them. There are even recommendations for women that suggest that when being pulled over at night or in a lowly populated area they should call 911 to confirm that there is, in fact, a police officer at their location.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heresolong View Post
    I wholeheartedly agree. Police should be visible and recognizable. News stories are easily found where someone pretending to be a policeman stopped someone and then killed or abducted them. There are even recommendations for women that suggest that when being pulled over at night or in a lowly populated area they should call 911 to confirm that there is, in fact, a police officer at their location.
    i would only agree with that is the "cop" was in an unmarked car and tried to pull you over at night. If the "cop" is in a marked patrol car and is pulling you over...saying you were not sure if he was a real cop or not is probably not gunna fly

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    It is in the police's interests, and in the interests of law abiding citizens for the police to wear recognizable uniforms. When police wear "thug" clothing, citizens rightfully see them as thugs.

    If someone looks like a thug and starts chasing me, I will assume I am dealing with a thug, and take an appropriate response.

    I have always seen the WSP wearing professional clothing, and I have never heard of WSP acting like thugs.

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    I don't really care what an officer wears as long as it is obvious to tell if they are a police officer. I think a metal badge should be a requirement regardless of the uniform, unless it happens to be a SWAT uniform. I have noticed a lot more cops wearing BDU's and such, but always see them with polo type shirts that say conty sheriff or whatever the local police department is. I think badges should be visible for patrol cops unless there is a specific reason for it, like a need to protect their identity in a particular area.
    On another note, I don't think an old school button up collared shirt is really a necessary type of uniform. If a cop feels more comfortable and better equipped with BUD's and a more tactical set of gear, then I'm all for it as long as they have a legit badge and a shirt that tells everyone what department/county/etc...

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    Regular Member FMCDH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish52084 View Post
    I don't really care what an officer wears as long as it is obvious to tell if they are a police officer. I think a metal badge should be a requirement regardless of the uniform, unless it happens to be a SWAT uniform. I have noticed a lot more cops wearing BDU's and such, but always see them with polo type shirts that say conty sheriff or whatever the local police department is. I think badges should be visible for patrol cops unless there is a specific reason for it, like a need to protect their identity in a particular area.
    On another note, I don't think an old school button up collared shirt is really a necessary type of uniform. If a cop feels more comfortable and better equipped with BUD's and a more tactical set of gear, then I'm all for it as long as they have a legit badge and a shirt that tells everyone what department/county/etc...
    ...and a name ribbon/badge if they are a patrol or beat officer.

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    Regular Member jbone's Avatar
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    Interesting subject, although more suited for the social lounge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heresolong View Post
    I wholeheartedly agree. Police should be visible and recognizable. News stories are easily found where someone pretending to be a policeman stopped someone and then killed or abducted them. There are even recommendations for women that suggest that when being pulled over at night or in a lowly populated area they should call 911 to confirm that there is, in fact, a police officer at their location.
    This is great advice-- making the assumption that cell service is available at that particular time and place....

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeSparky View Post
    This is great advice-- making the assumption that cell service is available at that particular time and place....
    Most officers will recognize the implicit fear in those circumstances. If the driver continues along until they reach a well lighted or populated area, without excessive speed, or attempt to elude, they may get a "talking to"

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    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trigger Dr View Post
    Most officers will recognize the implicit fear in those circumstances. If the driver continues along until they reach a well lighted or populated area, without excessive speed, or attempt to elude, they may get a "talking to"
    You are kidding right?
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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish52084 View Post
    I don't really care what an officer wears as long as it is obvious to tell if they are a police officer. I think a metal badge should be a requirement regardless of the uniform, unless it happens to be a SWAT uniform. I have noticed a lot more cops wearing BDU's and such, but always see them with polo type shirts that say conty sheriff or whatever the local police department is. I think badges should be visible for patrol cops unless there is a specific reason for it, like a need to protect their identity in a particular area.
    On another note, I don't think an old school button up collared shirt is really a necessary type of uniform. If a cop feels more comfortable and better equipped with BUD's and a more tactical set of gear, then I'm all for it as long as they have a legit badge and a shirt that tells everyone what department/county/etc...
    Don't you think it would be better if all patrol officers in a Department wore the same uniform. It appears that many get to pick and choose from a "menu" according to their personal desires. This results in many different "looks" for officers on the street and detracts from the whole idea of them wearing a "Uniform".

    Quote Originally Posted by FMCDH View Post
    ...and a name ribbon/badge if they are a patrol or beat officer.
    In a size, with contrasting letters, that allows anyone to read from a normal "conversational distance" rather than having to be close enough to be their dance partner.

    Quote Originally Posted by jbone View Post
    Interesting subject, although more suited for the social lounge.
    And why would that be. This affects everyone who Open Carries and might interact with a Police Officer. Would be nice to know who you are talking to. Some uniforms could be worn by everyone from Animal Control to a security guard.
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    In my state, every county officer wears the brown shirt and pants. The city officers wear the blue uniforms—as with the state police. I think it varies state to state, but most of them are standardized according to department policy being similar....

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFPVet View Post
    In my state, every county officer wears the brown shirt and pants. The city officers wear the blue uniforms—as with the state police. I think it varies state to state, but most of them are standardized according to department policy being similar....
    Come visit Seattle and surrounding areas. You'll see the entire "Police Wear Catalog" on display by patrol officers.
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    Regular Member jbone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    And why would that be.
    Because you are stretching it IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Would be nice to know who you are talking to.
    In referrance to what?

    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Some uniforms could be worn by everyone from Animal Control to a security guard.
    Yep! my security company has me wearing blue tactical 5.11'S from Bluemenripoffs, Don't tell me more laws are required.
    Last edited by jbone; 01-26-2011 at 10:39 PM.

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    [QUOTE=amlevin;1454157]Don't you think it would be better if all patrol officers in a Department wore the same uniform. It appears that many get to pick and choose from a "menu" according to their personal desires. This results in many different "looks" for officers on the street and detracts from the whole idea of them wearing a "Uniform".

    The only thing I have against an all encompassing uniform is each officers personal needs. I feel like the option of what type of holster and shoes or boots they wear on duty should be personal preference, within reason. If an officer prefers a thigh or drop leg holster, I don't see how that is a problem. The more slack style pants of the state patrol and the button up, collared and cuffed shirts they wear may also be more expensive to buy and maintain. I know that maintaining a work uniform that must be dry cleaned gets old real quick. I should also say that I do believe it should be easy to identify the more relaxed uniformed officer. I believe a polo type shirt with your department clearly printed on it as well as a readable badge and name tag should be standard to all police uniforms. To be honest, I usually have a chuckle at the Washington State patrol when it's raining and they have their shower caps over their mountie hats.lol

    I do agree that a clear badge and an easy to read name tag is an excellent idea and should be standard

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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Come visit Seattle and surrounding areas. You'll see the entire "Police Wear Catalog" on display by patrol officers.
    This is true, I'm not in Seattle that often, but I have notice the smorgasbord of uniforms. Seems like everyone of them has something different.

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    I have a better idea. How about they just be damn sure they got the right guy before breaking their necks?
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish52084 View Post
    This is true, I'm not in Seattle that often, but I have notice the smorgasbord of uniforms. Seems like everyone of them has something different.
    Kind of defeats the purpose of a "Uniform", doesn't it?
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    The guys in SPD that have other than the standard uniform are usually on special assignment. I was just at the east precinct with a friend of my dads, Yes I was carrying in the restricted area, and every single beat officer had the same uniform on. The ones that didn't were not part of the patrol group but rather bike officers, canine, or some other special duty.

    I can see having a different variation, like the bike guys, but I do agree that their should be some kind of standard for the officers that makes them easy to recognize as an officer. Some just have completely different looking uniforms. Yesterday I saw a sno county SUV pull a guy over and he was wearing the dark green coveralls. He was not readily recognizable as an officer based on his attire.
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    Regular Member DEROS72's Avatar
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    Personally I am becoming increasingly unnerved by the militarization of law enforcement.It smacks of Power and control and the SS. I think they shoukd have a standard uniform, casual, carry a radio a .38 revolver ,night stick and a flashlight.like they did when I was akid.

    When we watched the shooting from the tower at the Uni.of Texas in I believe 64 or 66..anyway the police had civilians,regular folks get there weapons and provide cover fire while they got an officer to the top and take the guy out with a shot gun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DEROS72 View Post
    Personally I am becoming increasingly unnerved by the militarization of law enforcement.It smacks of Power and control and the SS. I think they shoukd have a standard uniform, casual, carry a radio a .38 revolver ,night stick and a flashlight.like they did when I was akid.

    When we watched the shooting from the tower at the Uni.of Texas in I believe 64 or 66..anyway the police had civilians,regular folks get there weapons and provide cover fire while they got an officer to the top and take the guy out with a shot gun.
    Funny thing about the SS, they had very easy to identify uniforms and they were all the same uniform. This is going to sound a little off, but continuity of dress is yet another way for things like group think to continue to pop up in law enforcement. I don't like the way law enforcement officers are often selected for the job, They often hire very similar psychological profiles and personalities which leads to a narrow paradigm that is very difficult to shift. I think it causes an us against them mindset and that is bad for a civil servant. Keeping every officer in the same uniform tends to promote a fraternity mindset and that could be detrimental to the quality of their work and a lack of original and or creative problem solving.
    I'm not insinuating that uniforms alone make all this happen, but there is a reason the military likes uniforms and a lack of personal identity. I truly don't think it matters what equipment the officer uses a long as it is reasonable and easy to tell that they are police officers.

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    Regular Member killchain's Avatar
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    Does anyone have a picture of the two uniforms to point out discrepancies?

    Because most "tactical uniforms" I see police wearing say POLICE right across their chest and back.
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -John Stuart Mill

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    Regular Member DEROS72's Avatar
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    Yeah your right agout the unifrms and maybe SS is harsh.I'm just refering to the bully mentality we seem to see crop up more in some LE. Don't get me wrong in my area I run into LE that I consider pretty good guys .You are right about this us vrs them attitude becoming more prominent and it goes both ways as well.

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by killchain View Post
    Does anyone have a picture of the two uniforms to point out discrepancies?

    Because most "tactical uniforms" I see police wearing say POLICE right across their chest and back.
    Here's one style
    Note the small lettering for the "name badge". Couple that with the badge number either not on the "embroidered badge" or in low contrast thread.

    and a couple more. In this case there are two different patrol uniforms for the same department (exclude the ATF agent)


    If it wasn't for the car, is this a Police Officer or a Security Guard:


    The regular SPD Uniform:



    It also seems like SPD officers are always mourning the loss of an officer somewhere so note how how the badge number in in a near perpetual state of concealment



    And as far as the words "Police" on the tactical uniforms, it's usually on the back in big white letters. That's only to keep fellow officers from shooting them.

    The above pictures only show some of the uniforms in use in SPD. Bicycle units use different uniforms at different times of the year as expected. Add to the mix the KCSO uniforms and their palette of colors and it gets interesting.
    Last edited by amlevin; 01-28-2011 at 11:03 AM.
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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    The aggressive tackling and breaking of someone's neck had nothing to do with uniforms.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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