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  1. #1
    nitestokker's Avatar
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    Cool Should Unarmed Wear Uniforms In Public?

    This has been a hotly contested issue in these parts for years: Should unarmed jailers/reserve/interns/dispatchers be allowed to wear uniforms out in public? Some argue that it presents a professional appearance. Others contend that the uniform presents a target for bad guys, crazies and holster sniffers, therefore causing extra headaches for everyone. I personally believe that you should either be armed if your wearing or carrying a badge (OR) not have either. I feel that the badge, be it cloth, steel or even a tattoo comes with a huge responsibility to protect anyone in need and you'd better have something to back it up. Otherwise don't wear anything or project any actions or words that tell them you are in law enforcement. Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    FishTail Guest
    I've done it about 99% of my career.

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    Vendetta's Avatar
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    When I worked for the DOC a lot of us went to Wal-Mart when we got off at midnight. Since we werent armed I always put a Kel-Tec .40 in my pocket. I did it for my own protection. I dont care if the state liked it or not.
    I figured I would be judged by 12 before I was carried by 6
    "And don't go home, and don't go to eat, and don't play with yourself. It wouldn't look nice on my highway", Buford T. Justice

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    Standard Dave's Avatar
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    I don't think anyone should wear uniform off duty or in the case of detention officers etc outside of their work place.

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    We did it as explorers, we were hardly ever out of contact of an advisor or uniform officer though. It posses a risk, but our uniforms were drastically different than our deputy's uniforms or any of the other law enforcement agencies in our city and we didn't have a duty belt. A lot of people say though that people, especially a bad guy isn't going to notice the color of the uniform, but then the arguement rises that our FD and EMS has the same uniform format. So all in all, I believe that if you are going to have something that resembles a uniform for a department job/program, it should try and be its own design and not resemble those of the officers, deputies, troopers. I know speaking from just experiance with explorers, I saw some posts outfit their explorers with real badges (we had cloth) duty belts, etc. I as Chief of my post never agreed with that, I want my explorers looking as drastically different from our LEO's as possible.

    In my entire experiance as an explorer, 3 years and thousands of hours in uniform, I never had a problem. Sometimes people thought I was an officer but that was only at McDonalds, lol. Otherwise in public, people could see from my uniform that I wasn't an officer. I lacked a duty belt, gun, etc. People would come to me for assitance possibly with minor things, or in locating them an officer. Now all this, explorer wise, took place in a rather rural city though, population around 10,000, and not a huge violent crime rate. If I was someplace bigger, my opinoin might possibly differ.

    I work Foot Patrol for our Campus Department of Public Safety and Marine Patrol for our Sheriffs Department and in both these situations we carry a minimal amount of authority, small but still something. For Foot Patrol I wear a huge flurescent vest that can be seen from the space shuttle and says in huge letters Campus Safety and for Marine Patrol I wear a uniform, shirt with patches and cloth badge and shorts. In both these situations I am unarmed. Just out of curosity and your opinion, how could I go about both these jobs in public and be effective if the public is unable to identify me as branch of law enforcement?
    Last edited by Autumn2009; 05-29-06 at 06:31 PM.
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  6. #6
    Vendetta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Post#83Chief
    We did it as explorers, we were hardly ever out of contact of an advisor or uniform officer though. It posses a risk, but our uniforms were drastically different than our deputy's uniforms or any of the other law enforcement agencies in our city and we didn't have a duty belt. A lot of people say though that people, especially a bad guy isn't going to notice the color of the uniform, but then the arguement rises that our FD and EMS has the same uniform format. So all in all, I believe that if you are going to have something that resembles a uniform for a department job/program, it should try and be its own design and not resemble those of the officers, deputies, troopers. I know speaking from just experiance with explorers, I saw some posts outfit their explorers with real badges, duty belts, etc. I as Chief of my post never agreed with that, I want my explorers looking as drastically different from our LEO's as possible.

    Just let me say that in all my experiences with Explorers from both this site and another that is the most intelligent post I have read. You have totally changed my opinion of explorers with that single post.
    "And don't go home, and don't go to eat, and don't play with yourself. It wouldn't look nice on my highway", Buford T. Justice

    #1 Rule in Police: Sometimes its easier to ask Forgiveness than it is to ask Permission

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wcso234
    Just let me say that in all my experiences with Explorers from both this site and another that is the most intelligent post I have read. You have totally changed my opinion of explorers with that single post.
    Thank you, there are a lot of explorers out there that set a bad rep for the few good ones and a good program. I appreciate your words.



    Also, sorry everyone I keep thinking and have edited my post a couple times, I apoligize and excuse my scattered thoughts .
    Thereís a promise I need you to make
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    ~
    On My Watch Tonight - Mike Corrado

  8. #8
    JohnnyRotten's Avatar
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    Wearing a badge - any badge, does make you a target for nutcases and miscreants of all descriptions. Add to that the possibility of really bad timing (you know how Murphy gets) and things go from SNAFU to FUBAR really quick. You have every right to be proud and want to display your uniform. That being said, at least try to get some body armor... my mentor taught me that the badge doesn't stop bullets.

    As far as the public goes, they will absolutely look to you when stuff gets ugly. In Virginia it's illegal for security officers to wear a uniform off duty but some idiots did it anyway. Any time something stupid happened the public expected the officer to intervene.

    All things considered, I'd have to fall on the side of saying that the potential risks outweigh the benefits.
    "My motivation is slipping, people bug me, and I'm tired of wasting my time on drivel."

    - Rep. Otis Pike (D - NY)

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    Jim1348 is online now Rookie
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    I am not sure if this will be considered an appropriate reply to this thread or not, but here goes anyway. Last week I arrested a woman on a warrant. When she gets out of the vehicle I realize that she is in an Interstate Security uniform. I was thinking about this later that traffic on Interstate 494 must have thought it was odd seeing a man in plain-clothes arresting and handcuffing a woman in a uniform that looks VERY similar to a nearby city police department. Now as far as how it related to this thread, I suppose you could make the argument that it MIGHT have given the impression that the police were arresting onme of there own. Actually if the situation were changed and I saw someone in plain-clothes arresting someone in a police looking uniform I may have thought it unusual. I was also sort of wondering if the other inmates gave her "the business" as she was waiting to be booked.

  10. #10
    Iron Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wcso234
    Just let me say that in all my experiences with Explorers from both this site and another that is the most intelligent post I have read. You have totally changed my opinion of explorers with that single post.

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  11. #11
    Iron Man's Avatar
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    Any uniform that is law enforcement related makes a good target for the crack heads.

    When I did security for a grocery store I was talking to an elderly customer just someone I BSed whenever I saw her (she was a very nice lady) and all of a sudden she just turned pale and started shacking. The cashier to my side just screamed. I had no idea what was going on and the cashier just pointed towards the glass door behind me.

    After about 15 to 20 seconds she was able to talk saying there was a black male that pointed a revolver at the back of my head then looked at her and decided to run and not go through with the robbery.

    The only thing I can figure is that he thought I was a deputy because my uniform looked very similar to theirs. Same color shirt and pants. Even the same duty belt minus the gun.

    That I think saved my life and perhaps some customers and employees. The dirt bag apparently did not want to kill a cop and did not think it was worth it.

    So looking like a cop actually saved my life.

    My point is, people are very unpredictable. If I looked like security there is a good chance I would not be here today. However for someone that was out to kill a cop I was a prime target. It all depends on the individual dirt bag.
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    To them its always 'scary and aggressive' driving. To us its at times a matter of life and death." -LawnMM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmYie3bB3OU

  12. #12
    Terminator's Avatar
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    I'm not a fan of allowing anyone besides LEO's to wear their uniforms outside of work.

    As a side note, Post#83Chief does appear to be fairly sqaured away for an explorer.

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    Thanks everyone for their comments. I understand most officers' views on explorers and the program, my time there I myself ran into some extremely stupid individuals who definitly should not have been strutting around with a uniform on representing a police department let alone the circus, and most were in rank positions. Although, my time there I ran into numerous individuals who were extremely responsible, and respectful of the position. Judge the person not the program.
    Thereís a promise I need you to make
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    Just care for your children and sleep tight
    Iíll keep you safe on my watch tonight
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    On My Watch Tonight - Mike Corrado

  14. #14
    Crimebytes2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitestokker
    Otherwise don't wear anything or project any actions or words that tell them you are in law enforcement. Your thoughts?


    I've been watching this thread very closely, and I think it's safe to say that most would agree it's not a good idea that, while off duty, you give the impression that you're a member of any law enforcement agency. Having said this, what about those of you who are allowed to take home marked police cruisers? Doesn't this fall along the same lines? I mean, you have just made it known to everyone that you're a police officer. Good neighborhood or not, there are bad guys everywhere.

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    CountyFourteen's Avatar
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    I love my take home car.....and I have had unmarked as well as marked...I won't give up my car!!!! lol well yes it lets people know where we live etc.....but the bad guys know that anyway if they put any effort to "hunt us down" as many have told me they would do......I just smile and say "I'll be waiting on you" none of the ones who ever threatened me came after I said that (another reason I believe in always being armed).

    The detention center here is under the sheriff's office......and yes they are called deputies....and up untill recently wore the same badge.....now I understand they wear the sewn in badge....but I agree if you are going to stand in a store or whatever in the "same uniform" you really should be armed........but then again.....are you premitted to be armed any way? Our detention deputies are not certified to carry weapons......
    Any Post I make is my opinion only!
    I do not have the authority or the permission to post for my Sheriff's Office.



  16. #16
    Standard Dave's Avatar
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    There is a difference between someone hunting you down by checking voters registers, phone books, driving licence records or vehicle registrations and advertising you are a cop by having a marked car outside your family home.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CountyFourteen
    but the bad guys know that anyway if they put any effort to "hunt us down" as many have told me they would do......I just smile and say "I'll be waiting on you" none of the ones who ever threatened me came after I said that
    People shoot off at the mouth all the time. This doesn't mean they will go through with it. Most don't, since they're all talk and no action. Regarding the bad guys, I'm not talking about those you come into contact with on a daily basis. I'm talking about those who come into your neighborhood at all hours of the day/night looking for trouble (drunks, juveniles, gangs, your neighbor down the street who was issued a ticket earlier in the day, etc.). Things of this nature.

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    CountyFourteen's Avatar
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    hmmm did I get to the point???

    I have seen people in uniform at the grocery store, gas station etc.....not only in uniform with no "gun" but no Ballistic vest...you do the math, lol

    Some have said I was Paranoid due to believing in being armed etc.....I just call it being more aware of your surroundings and survival skills.
    Any Post I make is my opinion only!
    I do not have the authority or the permission to post for my Sheriff's Office.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standard Dave
    There is a difference between someone hunting you down by checking voters registers, phone books, driving licence records or vehicle registrations and advertising you are a cop by having a marked car outside your family home.
    Yes that is very true, and god knows the "bad guys" certaintly aren't very smart most the time in what they do in the spur of the moment.

    I'm sure my mail box (sits in the middle of three by the road) gets bashed all the time and the other two are left alone due to me being in law enforcement......is it because they saw the car.....or because they know thats my mail box.......my home is 1/3 mile off the road.....not visible to the street.....it doesn't say "cop" on the mail box either, lol

    The "feel" in the county I work for is, the public like seeing the cruisers, the Sheriff likes the visability, and we certaintly love taking them home.

    This thread (train of thought) now makes me wonder how many might change at work.......so that they won't be seen wearing a uniform......going into their home......that I guess could grossly be perceived as "advertisting your a cop" as well???

    Anyway........I have never thought twice about having a cruiser at my home...no matter where I lived. I don't think it is advertisting...just a great Convenience
    Any Post I make is my opinion only!
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standard Dave
    There is a difference between someone hunting you down by checking voters registers, phone books, driving licence records or vehicle registrations and advertising you are a cop by having a marked car outside your family home.
    This is the point I was trying to make... thanks!

 

 
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