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View Full Version : Dress and equipment regulations.


Silver Fox
10-03-09, 10:23 PM
With their fu manchu mustaches, bald heads as slick as cue balls, others with long hair, some wearing baseball caps and others without you would hardly know that a lot of the cops and deputies around here were LEO's if they weren't wearing a badge and packing a pistol....It must be nice to have little restrictions on how you look and what you wear in some departments today.
Back when I was referred to as a flatfoot by the general populace we had a set of dress and equipment regulations we had to go by and if we didn't abide by those Regs we were kicked off the force. It was as simple as that.
Before starting a tour of duty our Sgt. would yell, "fall in for inspection" and the captain or one of the lieutenants would commence slowly walking the rows of lined up officers closely observing each man to make sure that he was clean shaven, not in need of a haircut, shoes polished and neatly dressed in full uniform with shirt, tie and cap.
We didn't have a lot of equipment but what little we did have had to be the same. Consisting of an issued 38 Cal. service revolver with 12 extra rounds of ammo, cuffs, baton and a chrome plated brass whistle. You may laugh but the whistle was an important piece of equipment, which was used to direct traffic, catch a jay walker or violator's attention, stop a motorist from backing into traffic or going the wrong way down a one way street, Etc. When blown sharply it could be heard 2-3 blocks away and was used to summons help when an officer was down or in trouble.
Even though we had a badge on our uniform jackets our caps were considered as our badge of authority and it was rarely taken off while on duty. If the sergeant. or, worse yet, the duty Lt. happened to drive by during one of those rare moments the offender would be on the receiving end of a good old timey A$$ chewing.


Creeker
10-04-09, 05:03 AM
I think they stopped issuing Regulation Dresses back around 1970, Bill. :lol:

retdetsgt
10-04-09, 09:40 AM
I don't miss those days one bit. Having to keep up with that friggin' hat was the most ridiculous thing imaginable. And there were always a supervisor or commander who spent all their time worrying about them.

My first letter of reprimand was over a damned hat. One night a couple of cops got jumped in a biker bar. It was a huge party with two different clubs there, every cop in the city responded. Several cops and bikers ended up in the hospital.

I came out of the place with a biker in cuffs (we were both covered in blood) and ran into a captain just arriving to the scene. What was the first thing he asked? Not are any cops hurt, but where was my hat. To paraphrase my answer, I said something to the effect that I wasn't concerned with its whereabouts, but less tactfully.:mad:

Finally, in the late 70's we got a chief that made them optional. Having learned that the quality of police work didn't drop any, the next chief didn't reinstate the order as feared.


PapaBear
10-04-09, 04:41 PM
I am a tad bit of a traditionalist. I like to see a professional look of a peace officer when representing their agency, government, etc.

Although, there are times when a less formal appearance may be necessary - civil disturbances, disasters, etc. - for normal, daily grinds, an officer should be attired in the uniform that presents a readily recognizable appearance so there is no mistake as to the authority of his/her office.

Cammys, baseball caps, bloused boots, wash and wear cotton utilities are not professional and should only be utilized as stated above.

Cass
10-04-09, 04:55 PM
I came out of the place with a biker in cuffs (we were both covered in blood) and ran into a captain just arriving to the scene. What was the first thing he asked? Not are any cops hurt, but where was my hat. To paraphrase my answer, I said something to the effect that I wasn't concerned with its whereabouts, but less tactfully.:mad:

So since you weren't wearing your hat that was an unlawful arrest then, right? :confused:




















:p

retdetsgt
10-04-09, 05:34 PM
I am a tad bit of a traditionalist. I like to see a professional look of a peace officer when representing their agency, government, etc.


I don't care for BDU's and a lot of the casual look either. But the thing about hats was just way over the top, at least at my dept. I don't know how many times I got out of my car to handle something really important and then have to go back and get the stupid hat or risk getting a butt chewing. It was an obsession by some supervisors. And there was nothing like having to go back and look for the damn hat after breaking a good bar fight. :rolleyes: Requiring it for routine traffic stops, etc. is one thing, but my dept was ridiculous in enforcing the rule.

The S.O. here has gone strictly to BDU's and lot look ridiculous in them. But they have also never had a hair/beard policy either. In the 70's, many looked like hair and beards like hippies. One deputy could have passed for Charlie Manson, seriously.

So far, we still wear class A's unless you are in a special unit. The dept issues the uniform for free and will replace anything torn so it's not a financial burden on the individual officer to wear class A's.

Citicop
10-04-09, 05:39 PM
I agree that cops should look professional and the uniform should be recognizable, but I don't see the need to have cops working in the field with what amounts to a "Class A" Uniform.

Field work = Field Uniform (IMHO)

-Citicop.

MountainMan
10-04-09, 06:35 PM
We finally went to being allowed to wear class B pants on shift. Just add cargo pockets to the class A pants. Plus they are a bit better cut for the work we actually do.

Best decision they have made in a few years. They still look proffesional but are much more useable.

I hate ball caps in uniform though. Just not as much as three days off for not having our stupid hats on back in the day.

Cat_Doc
10-04-09, 07:07 PM
I’ve never worked with an agency that allowed fu manchu moustaches or long hair unless you were assigned to a special plainclothes detail. When I first started in the 70’s, the winter uniform was Class A. All your leather gear had to be worn in the exact same place on your belt, left hand reversed. You still wore Class A slacks in the summer, but we went to a short sleeved shirt.

Now, I still wear the Class B uniform, never having gotten use to the BDU pants and polo shirt Class C, but it is authorized for user comfort. I have no problem with it because our worker bees should be comfortable. I am just a little old school on how we present ourselves.

I will admit, however, that I was caught off guard by what appears to be dissatisfaction by the OP regarding “cleanly shaved heads.” The ONLY people I have ever heard make negative comments about this are ghetto rats claiming you are a “Nazi KKK Peckerwood” because you are sporting a shaved, or extremely close cropped, head.

Additionally, I have never heard of an agency, even back in the day that prohibited shaved heads. If this was so, did the department pay for a presentable toupee to be worn on duty if someone was naturally bald?

retdetsgt
10-04-09, 08:07 PM
Additionally, I have never heard of an agency, even back in the day that prohibited shaved heads. If this was so, did the department pay for a presentable toupee to be worn on duty if someone was naturally bald?

When I came on, there was a Lt. who have a shaven head in 1970.

We relaxed the beard, mustache rules in the late 70's too. Hair could never be over the collar, but they eased up on sideburns and fu manchus. My mustache has gone past the corner of my mouth for years. It was part of my persona........:dance:

In the late 80's, a chief said we could have beards as long as you got a two week start on it on your own time (e.g. go on vacation and come back with it) and it couldn't be over 1/2" long. Not many people grew one, but a few did. Then we got a chief from the outside just after I retired, a retired LAPD deputy chief and he did away with them. He wasn't here long and I have no idea what the rules are now.

Actually, I guess I was talking about a class B uniform. Our class A is the same as the class B except you wear a white shirt and tie.

furetto7
10-08-09, 02:17 AM
Ah yes, winter and summer wool uniforms, all the brass atwinkle, low quarters shined like a mirror and every item on the ol' Sam Browne in its exact place.

As you got out of the car you would grab your hat from the seat and your stick from the door clips, woe be to the officer caught without his hat on or his shiny whistle not on its little shiny hook.

Like a lot of oldtimers I am not a big fan of BDU's or polo shirts but I do like the newer cotton/poly class B uniforms for patrol and I am much happier wearing a pair of properly shined boots instead of the old Corfam low quarters.

I have to smile a bit when some of the new kids use the term "Leather" when their entire gunbelt is made of nylon.

retdetsgt
10-08-09, 11:01 AM
Ah yes, winter and summer wool uniforms, all the brass atwinkle, low quarters shined like a mirror and every item on the ol' Sam Browne in its exact place.

As you got out of the car you would grab your hat from the seat and your stick from the door clips, woe be to the officer caught without his hat on or his shiny whistle not on its little shiny hook.

Like a lot of oldtimers I am not a big fan of BDU's or polo shirts but I do like the newer cotton/poly class B uniforms for patrol and I am much happier wearing a pair of properly shined boots instead of the old Corfam low quarters.

I have to smile a bit when some of the new kids use the term "Leather" when their entire gunbelt is made of nylon.


When I came on in 1970, the fad was Wellington boots. I thought they were stupid then and still do.... We could wear any kind of footwear we wanted as long as it was black leather and shined. I personally never liked wearing any kind of boot. I never found an advantage to them and I could run better in shoes. I found a ankle high shoe made by Red Wing that was incredibly comfortable and took a brush shine very well. The only time I wore boots was when it was icy and then I wore my old Army boots. The rubber soles were great on ice.

They gave us a choice of polyester uniforms in the mid 70's. The shirts were fine, I liked them, but the pants turned from blue to purple after a couple of washings. I suspect the quality is much better now.

And yeah, I remember shining my gun belt, keepers, etc before an inspection....:biggrin5:

Cat_Doc
10-08-09, 11:18 AM
And yeah, I remember shining my gun belt, keepers, etc before an inspection....:biggrin5:

When I first started we had the twelve round ammo loop pad worn on the front left side of the belt, just to the side of the big silver leather belt buckle. The ammo (.38 Special) was exposed and they had to be friggen shined.

We had one particular Marine sergeant who would hammer gig line, break of slacks over the footwear, and could spot a minuscule breakaway thread 1000 meters away.

We used to get "surprise" inspections on a regular basis and there was none of this "criticize in private" crap back then. You would get verbally thrashed in front of the entire squad and anyone who happened to be walking by briefing.

CityOfChicago
10-08-09, 11:30 AM
Our inspections are a joke. "Where's your hat?" "In the car" "O.k."

Where's your star? "In the car" O.k.

Where's your stick. "In the car" O.k.

I mean, I guess it's better than getting chewed. There's enough going on outside that the last thing I need is the boss havin a tizz over how unclean my hat is. BUT, that's part of his job, part of the professionalism and accountability, so whaddya gonna do? Get your act together and take a chew if you get one.

retdetsgt
10-08-09, 11:31 AM
When I first started we had the twelve round ammo loop pad worn on the front left side of the belt, just to the side of the big silver leather belt buckle. The ammo (.38 Special) was exposed and they had to be friggen shined.

We had one particular Marine sergeant who would hammer gig line, break of slacks over the footwear, and could spot a minuscule breakaway thread 1000 meters away.

We used to get "surprise" inspections on a regular basis and there was none of this "criticize in private" crap back then. You would get verbally thrashed in front of the entire squad and anyone who happened to be walking by briefing.


I found that a lot of the people who worried the most about my gig line, etc., didn't know a hell of a lot about police work so this is what they concentrated on. When we made hats optional, it literally took the meaning out of some supervisors' and commanders' lives, I swear.....

And some of the best cops I worked around were slobs. One old cop (a former Marine too) didn't wear keepers, his gun belt hung down like a gunfighter's and his uniform, was well, clean at least. He had two brothers on the dept. who were also former Marines and nearly as bad as him. Any of the three could put on a $1500 tuxedo and still look like a bum. But if you were a crook, you didn't want any of the three on your case! And they were the best backup you could ever want when the air hit the fan!

CityOfChicago
10-08-09, 11:34 AM
With their fu manchu mustaches,

Every Jan we have a mustache competition. Some people really grow some scraggly, nasty 'staches. But me, I grow a huge, black, wicked, down to the edge of my chin fu that screams "porn". Even my watch commander says to keep it.

retdetsgt
10-08-09, 11:36 AM
Our inspections are a joke. "Where's your hat?" "In the car" "O.k."

Where's your star? "In the car" O.k.

Where's your stick. "In the car" O.k.

I mean, I guess it's better than getting chewed. There's enough going on outside that the last thing I need is the boss havin a tizz over how unclean my hat is. BUT, that's part of his job, part of the professionalism and accountability, so whaddya gonna do? Get your act together and take a chew if you get one.

Our inspections are a little more severe than that, but not much. Mostly they check for clean weapon, up to date ID card and DL. None of the BS from years ago.

The funniest inspection I ever saw was when they asked an old cop for his DL. He said he left it at home. The inspector ran him through DMV and found he'd been suspended for 15 years for failure to report an accident! I laughed until I damned near cried. He retired immediately, of course. But the thought of him driving a police car with a suspended license was great! I could have just seen the headlines on that one!

Creeker
10-10-09, 04:55 PM
...They gave us a choice of polyester uniforms in the mid 70's. The shirts were fine, I liked them, but the pants turned from blue to purple after a couple of washings. I suspect the quality is much better now.

...

Our Class A pants were always... and probably always will be... dry clean only.

They gave us 3 pair and I always had one in the dry cleaner when I worked Patrol and never wore a pair just once unless I got into a tussle.

I truly believe the most versatile Uniform for Patrol is a BDU. It isn't the neatest, but it is the most practical if you want a Cop to get his hands dirty.

In crime scene, they issued us cotton blended BDU's and aside from the cotton piling, they were a great uniform pant for the work. One side pocket for the rubber gloves, another for rolls of film... :)

retdetsgt
10-10-09, 05:13 PM
We were issued four pair of wool pants, two lightweight for summer and two heavier weight. We were given three long sleeve shirts and three short sleeve.

I got dirtier working as a detective than I did as a uniform cop. I had a pair of coveralls issued to wear then.

In uniform, I didn't prowl around crime scenes, I called in someone to do that. I also made more felony arrests (not drugs) than the majority of my peers and I never found wearing a regular uniform to be a hinderance or get especially dirty. And I worked in Oregon where it rains more days a week than more areas of the country.

The cost of dry cleaning was a bit of pain, but not that horrible.