POLICE Magazine

JUN 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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20 POLICE JUNE 2019 TODAY'S OFFICERS want uniforms that are comfortable, durable, and extremely functional in a wide range of settings while providing a professional look. ey want to be able to focus on the task at hand instead of the fit and feel of their uniform. And thanks to advances in fabric technology, law enforcement apparel manufacturers are up to the task. ey continue to update their offer- ings to meet officers' wants and needs as they change over time. According to Tru-Spec, law enforce- ment is looking for uniforms with com- fort, stretch, moisture wicking, lighter weight, and a more tailored, low-profile fit. "e main thing that we see and hear is that officers are looking for less tac- tical looking apparel. ey don't want a military look, especially cargo pock- ets," says Joe Ruggeri, VP of Apparel Merchandising at Propper. "We've been designing around that, but still trying to give the wearer as much function as they would have with cargo pockets." COLOR TRENDS In the same vein, when it comes to uni- form color, many law enforcement of- ficers are going away from the tactical black trend that was popular for so long. In its place, agencies are adopting Rang- er green, gray, and urban camouflage. For tactical teams, "Ranger green is the trend," says David Hein, vice presi- dent of 5.11 Tactical's professional divi- sion. He says he sees many urban and rural agencies adopting this more tan green instead of the tactical black and olive drab or OD green that has been commonly seen on tactical officers for decades. According to Hein, 5.11 Tac- tical has added Ranger green as an op- tion for more than 20 tactical products in the last 18 months to meet customer demand. A representative from Tru-Spec says it's because Ranger green doesn't look quite like the military in the way olive drab does, and it's not as intimidating as black. Gray is also gaining popularity in uniforms. "From an urban standpoint it performs well [as camouflage], and we see it growing," says 5.11's Hein. Adds Propper's Ruggeri, "I think people like it. And it's cooler than a black or nav y, which is especially helpful during the summer." Newer urban camouflage prints are another option that has grown in popularity in recent years as black has fallen out of favor for tacti- cal operators. However, for patrol uni- forms, black and dark nav y blue are still very popular. FITTING THE FEMALE FORM While look is important, so is fit. And female officers now have options to address both concerns with women's apparel available in specific cuts and styles actually made to fit the female form. "Historically, companies have taken a men's uniform and just tweaked it a bit. But that's not how it works," says 5.11's Hein. Some female officers still prefer to wear male uniforms, but that's less common now because there are so many female fits available that are com- fortable and look professional. Features include stretch fabrics that stretch in the right places, waistbands that are curved instead of straight, and cuts that are looser in areas like the hips and thighs but don't bag in other areas like the crotch. Angela Milligan of Fechheimer's Fly- ing Cross brand says a team gathered data about what female officers liked about men's pants and what they didn't like about women's pants and came up with the ProX Signature Fit, described as the "premium women's fit." Milligan explains, "It's just the cut that's differ- ent. It's not a specific fabric. With a great fit, it can blend into different fabrics," which is why it is now available in all Flying Cross uniform lines. One issue that men don't encounter as often is needing to remove all their gear so they can sit down to use the toi- let. Women encounter this every time they need to use the restroom, without the option of standing up. So 5.11 Tac- tical developed the PDU Go Pant. "It's got a drop tail in the back of it," says Hein. "We incorporated a zipper across the back yoke and back of the leg, and it works absolutely phenomenally." Now this design is available in a wide range of 5.11 Tactical pants for female officers. FABRIC FEATURES Fabric for all officers' uniforms is ex- pected to do more than it used to. Offi- cers want stretch, odor control, cooling effects, color fastness, durability, and ease of care. Manufacturers have been able to incorporate these attributes g The ProX Signature Women's Fit from Flying Cross is designed to offer a better solution to ill-fitting trouser wear for women. To solve the issue of female officers needing to remove their gear to use the bathroom, 5.11 Tactical developed the Women's PDU Go Pant with a zippered drop tail. ON TREND APPAREL OFFICERS EXPECT THEIR UNIFORMS TO KEEP ADVANCING TO PROVIDE THE FIT, FUNCTION, AND LOOK THEY NEED TO FOCUS ON THE JOB. MELANIE BASICH

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