POLICE Magazine

SEP 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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54 POLICE SEPTEMBER 2018 Being able to stick around long enough on the job to be considered a veteran law enforcement officer is not al- ways the result of positive experiences. If you ask me, it's more about how much you have survived: how many bad leaders, bad calls, and life mistakes you have made but somehow muddled through. ese experiences often mold you into the gnarly old veteran officer that you've become. ey are the reason younger officers may seek you out or supervisors may tell the younger ones to avoid you. Being that old guy, I know it often comes down to police fashion. CHEAP HAWAIIAN SHIRTS Years ago, when working in Georgia it was often an undertaking to carry off duty and concealed. In the early years, pretty much the only option was wearing jackets or leaving your shirttails pulled out for easy access. en enter the tactical off-duty pho- tographer-type vests, the ones with lots of pockets. Vests were all the rage but soon became identifiable as apparel for off-duty po- lice officers trying to look cool. And please do not remind me of "fanny packs." Later the tactical equipment manufacturers came out with their concealed carry tactical shirts. ese are great and I even have a few. But still there is a void; attire and at- titudes need to match. For veteran officers, there are a few of us who don't care or don't possess any fashion sense whatsoever. You know the old guys that when they walk across the room they make creaking sounds? ey tend to wear Hawaiian shirts or sometimes bowl- ing shirts. A few even spring for the Guayabera shirts, which are generally the same style but make far more fashion sense. All of these bigger, looser fitting shirts are comfortable and easily con- ceal your weapon. But they also speak volumes about the wearer, other than no fashion sense. DRESS CODES When you attend training, especially training conferences, there are some rules. ere are some departments that still re- quire officers to wear duty uniforms or logo-bearing shirts to training classes, even those out of state. ey believe in showing the flag whenever possible. Most request business casual for meetings. Kind of stiff regula- tion, I would say. At most police conferences where officers are free to wear what they want, you'll still find the younger ones in tactical shirts and tac pants or jeans. ere will be plenty of T-shirts that reek of personal vocational statements or product recog- nition. e baseball hats with "the crush" effect and sunglasses are still in vogue. e one major point to be made here is that most of us have worn uniforms all our professional lives, to include military service. So even when "off duty," we tend to still conform by wearing identifiable tactical wear. What I find important is that sometimes we just want to be ourselves and relax. For a few of the crusty, old curmudgeons, our way of doing this is wearing "the shirts." Ear- lier, I mentioned either we were the ones to be The Old Guy League VETERAN LEOS SPORTING HAWAIIAN SHIRTS LIKELY HAVE ADVICE WORTH SHARING WITH NEWER OFFICERS. William L. "Bill" Harvey g Contnued on page 58 PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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