My old police academy was near a large mall. Of course, the food court was a lunch hangout for the officers. I used to sit there with a coffee and spot all of the off-duty rookies. Bet I can spot one a mile away. Got to love them, they are creatures of habit. But some of their common fashion faux pas could get you into a fix, tactically and legally.
Where is the T-shirt Vendor?
One way to a cop's heart I guess is a cool cop T-shirt. My wife recently inventoried my closet and told me that I have enough T-shirts to outfit a battalion. I am guilty as well. The problematic ones are the shirts that could get you into a legal quandary.
The "kill 'em all" shirts may be cool on the range, but what happens if you are involved in a shooting and somebody recalls you wearing this vintage Wild West statement? You could have to explain your fashion statement on the stand without looking like a pistolero.
Use your head here and add some decorum. Besides legal issues, your choice of T-shirt could get you identified as a cop by some creep. You could get into a confrontation, armed or not; it may not be worth it.
I am not against wearing cool shirts in your off time, but the pistol packin', lead slingin', butt whoopin' statements do not speak well for what we want to call a profession in the public's eye. In the gym, on the range, or after hours with our pals they can be acceptable. Just watch your back in public; you never know who is watching.
Pistol Concealment, Not Pistol Bulges
I used to live in Savannah, Ga., which is a nearly semi-tropical environment at times. We on the job carried off-duty and usually could without too many eyebrows raised. Carrying a weapon discreetly and not frightening others is the key here. If it can be done in a hot climate then it can be done nearly anywhere.
Yes, I have seen the young officer with a large fire-breather tucked in his jeans and cool T-shirt pulled over it. Get real and get cool; seek out alternative methods of carry, and clothing is a part. Many of the police clothing outfitters now have concealed carry clothing available. Check these out for off-duty or plain clothes wear.
Let's see, blue jeans and sneakers. Folding knife in front pocket with spring clip nicely showing, or a better yet a knife tucked in the belt line for the macho set. Your cell phone is on the opposite side of your body from a large bulge that your T-shirt covers. The T-shirt, a really manly T-shirt, in black of course with some locked and loaded phrase. Right rear pocket has the distinct impression of a shield. Set of wrap-around shades, cool baseball hat with gun maker logo, and of course the brim has the right crush to it.
This is off-duty chic and do not get angry when someone asks you if you are cop. Spotted you or did I? Academies need to include instruction on off-duty carry and forms of discreet but tactically sound carry.
The reality statement here is that we want this calling, this vocation, to be a profession. We must conduct ourselves like we are professionals, not only on-duty but off-duty. One rogue cop can ruin the positive impression of others. I have said this a thousand times; it is perfectly legal to carry the life-saving tools of your profession with you off-duty to protect yourself and others. I want it to make this country safer. But, let's do so in a positive and professional manner.
Note: This article was written in one cool black T-shirt.
Train hard and train smart; train with safety in mind.