Some Phoenix police officers dislike uniform change
The new Phoenix Chief of Police made a uniform change that has some officers and labor union representatives fuming.
A message from the Chief Daniel Garcia’s office was sent out announcing that, effective Oct. 1, officers would no longer be authorized to wear the Class D uniform style, which is popular among hundreds of street level officers, said Ken Crane, Vice President of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA).
“Disappointed that we, as the labor group for rank and file officers, that we didn’t at least sit down and have some meetings prior to the decision being made,” he said.
The Class D uniform consists of the black, nylon cargo-type pants and a polo shirt with an embroidered badge. The utility-type uniform is described as being much cooler and practical for job. With this type of uniform, officers are allowed to wear a nylon, lighter weight gun belt and an outer-vest carrier.
Crane said these carriers can accommodate police equipment to relieve weight from officers’ gun belts, in turn, alleviating pressure on officers’ lower back and hips. In the long run, lessening the risk of on-the-job injuries.
“These are the guys and gals chasing down bad guys down alleys, jumping fences, getting in fights with suspects… they have the capacity to do that in a much more comfortable manner,” said Crane, who prefers to wear the Class D while patrolling.
There appears to be an underlying issue. Tension over Garcia’s announcement stems from apparent frustration at the lack of communication between both entities. PLEA maintains that Garcia’s policy change completely disregards the decision to implement this gear 15 years ago, after negotiations between city management and PLEA.
PLEA leaders said they were caught by surprise when the employee communication was sent out.
“We should be able to negotiate with the city a little bit and engage in discussions, before it just goes away with a stroke of a pen,” said Crane.
Meanwhile, a Phoenix Police spokesperson said Garcia is concerned about police impersonators, and this change would help confusion among residents, adding that Garcia wants his officers to have a more “uniform” and “professional” appearance.
The union has requested a meeting with the Chief for the week of July 30th.