What you wear on duty says a lot about you. “A uniform is the foundation of the police officer—it’s important for identification, appearance and protection,” says Chief Jeff Chudwin, “to the citizens you serve and the criminals you encounter. … The public is analyzing the way you present yourself from the first impression—and a professional appearance means a prepared officer.”
The importance of uniforms and appearing professional must not be understated. How you appear to the public not only reflects on you, but also on your department and your fellow LEOs across the nation. Moreover, uniforms serve a practical purpose. They should be designed to comfortably accommodate the essential gear for the job. What good is your gear if you can’t use it when you need it?
But uniforms can be controversial among officers. The dichotomy splits largely on so-called traditional vs. tactical uniforms. Traditional uniforms tend to project a more approachable, service-orientated policing appearance. They might also reflect the history of department. Tactical uniforms project a more practical, ready-for-anything appearance.
So which is right?
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