Phoenix Police Chief Daniel V. Garcia has ordered that beginning Oct. 1, the department's 2,500 patrol officers must wear only their polyester-blend uniforms with dark-blue button-down shirts and dress-style pants. The black, cotton-blend polo shirt and tactical pants that patrol officers have had the option of wearing for the past 15 years will no longer be allowed.
Garcia, whose order comes after five months on the job, has said the use of two patrol uniforms has the potential to create confusion and offers greater opportunity for criminals to impersonate officers. He cited a growing number of home-invasion robberies and fake traffic stops carried out by criminals wearing versions of the less-formal patrol uniform.
Ken Crane, Phoenix Law Enforcement Association vice president and grievance chairman, said the blue uniforms are more suited to office work or special events, like parades, funerals or awards ceremonies. Crane estimates that three-fourths of the officers on patrol duty either exclusively wear the black uniform or switch between the two. "If you are working in 110- and 115-degree heat, do you want to work in a uniform that is more suited for a utilitarian application or work the streets in what essentially amounts to dress clothes?" he said.
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