10.11.2011

Futuristic Criminal Investigations- Police Uniforms



Specializing In Forensic Child Sexual Abuse Investigations
“An examination of the police uniforms”
By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

The changes which have been made in the uniforms law enforcement officials are now wearing are significant compared to what they wore years ago. The dynamics of the uniform have the look of military, more comfortable, but able to house additional weapons such as the Taser, which most officers wear on either leg. It seems like if the officer has room on his uniform the more utilities and tools they will utilize.

This aspect of the changes in the uniform is futuristic and will be further redesigned over the next decade. The need to house light weight weapons on and in their uniform should be design to guarantee officer safety. If these criteria’s are overlooked then the officer is placed in a position of vulnerability. Another aspect of the uniform which is important is wearing a uniform which enhances the ability to deal with all types of individuals. The officer talks to more people than any other job and the uniform must be comfortable enough to sit or stand for long periods of times when interviewing potential witnesses. Further the officer’s uniform must be conducive to not self-destructing when the officer has to deal with a violent offender or someone who believes he should physically assault the officer.

Man And Woman In Uniform.jpgThe continuous design of the police uniform is the same as the need to think creative, innovative, and futuristic when it comes to the methods and techniques being   utilized in minor and major criminal investigations e.g. forensic child sexual abuse investigations.  The need to be continuously evaluating the methods and techniques being utilized by those who are in a position of reactive i.e. patrol and proactive i.e. prevention is a vital process to the success of to protect and serve.

Over the past several decades the uniform for the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) has dramatically changed. The day of wearing the tie seems to have lost its place. The reason for the dress down is the enormous amount of female personnel who never wore a tie. The old ways was a suit for men and women. Now blue jeans and a polo shirt seem to be the way of the times. Depending on which detective position the officer is assigned to, will depend on what the reasonable and logical dress of the day should be.  The majority of the time the detective expends is in the office the wearing of blue jeans and a polo shirt seems intelligent. However, if the detective is going to expend time in the community the detective needs to step up the dress code. Wearing a suit for the day the detective will be in the community provides a positive appearance which citizens relate to. Dressing down demonstrates a lack of disrespect as the community didn’t hire their police officers to be dressed in the same fashion as a garbage collector.

Man In Suit.jpgThe positive image of wearing a suit says a lot about the individual detective. When a detective is dressed up they generally provide an attitude of excellence, strength and respect. If they want respect it begins with the detective’s attitude and appearance. The community watches the many CIS shows on television where the majority of the detectives wear at least dress pants, shirts and a tie. Therefore, when they deal with their local police they expect the dress code to be similar. The trust issue begins by a citizen looking at the detective from the top of their head to the bottom of their feet. It is more likely that the citizen will ask for identification from a police officer who dresses down. Immediately the citizen does not understand why a police officer would be wearing blue jeans and a tee-shirt.

There are arguments on both sides of the issues of what the detective should be wearing when they are in the office and working in the community. Who is right or wrong about the dress code in police departments depends upon the policy and procedures that the upper administration wants to enforce. There is generally no rhyme or reason for why the tie is worn or why it isn’t worn.

The reactive patrol officer generally wears two types of uniforms. In the spring, summer and fall, the reactive patrol officer is generally allowed to wear a short sleeve shirt. In the winter and spring the option to wear the long sleeve shirt and tie is generally enforced. The impression the upper administration wants to convey to the community is that their police officers are polished and professional.

Why are all of these issues surrounding police attire and uniforms so important? The reasons are relevant and material due to the attitude the police officer presents when contacting the public. If the police officer appears to be professionally dressed this positive issue will tell the community that their police officers care about themselves and the community. It is a strange way to establish rapport with a citizen in reference to the attire the police officer wears. The older generation has a different viewpoint than the younger generation. The dress code of what the younger generation supports and the older generations supports, there are significant differences. Why? Over the past couple decade’s society has traded casual dressing to jeans and tee-shirts.

The reasons for the dress code in society are that the middle class was influenced by the lower class in how an individual should dress. Wearing of the low jeans to the wearing of the female polo shirts which expose their breast has become not only popular but has significantly changed the way society perceives which is appropriate and inappropriate.

The futuristic attire should be seen as a process which is necessary and intelligent in order to protect law enforcement officials who deal with the public on a daily basis. The reactive patrol officer who deals with individuals who are upset, angry, emotional, verbal and physically intimidating needs a uniform which is flexible, protective and durable. The reasons of what the police officer should wear and not wear are for the community to understand that the need for police officers attire to look similar.

The gun fire between police officers and perpetrators requires the police officer to make a quick decision is the man waving the gun around a police officer or perpetrator? Most perpetrators wear blue jeans and tee-shirts. It is rare to find an individual who is dressed in a suit to be a perpetrator. Generally, the perpetrator’s preference is blue jeans and tee-shirt. The police officer sees a man with a weapon and immediately sees this person as the enemy. If this person does not identify him/herself identify as a police officer, the undercover police officer may become a victim of friendly fire.
Another Man And Woman In Uniform.jpgAccording to The Free Dictionary.com friendly fire is defined as, “In casualty reporting, a casualty circumstance applicable to persons killed in action or wounded in action mistakenly or accidentally by friendly forces actively engaged with the enemy, who are directing fire at a hostile force or what is thought to be a hostile force. Further in an article from SWAT Blog, “All line-of-duty deaths are tragic, but perhaps the most devastating type of all LODDs is from "friendly fire." Simply put, blue-on-blue deaths should never happen. Yet, statistics show on average two officers die at the hands of other officers each and every year. There have already been two so-called "friendly fire" police deaths this year. Both times, the victim officers were on duty, killed by other officers. The first in Baltimore in January, the second in Nassau County, N.Y., in March. Both officers were killed by fellow officers who didn't recognize their targets as police.” So being concerned about what may happen during a fire fight demonstrate that ‘recognition’ is the number one priority when a police officer comes into a fire fight.
There are other reasons that the uniform attire worn by the detective be a positive issue for those who deal with children in a forensic child sexual abuse interview. Studies have demonstrated that children can become intimidated by police officers who wear uniforms during the child interview. Child advocates have advocated that any police officer conducting an interview of a child be dressed in attire which doesn’t present weapons, badges, gun belts and uniforms. It is important to that the police officers present themselves in non-alarming and non-intimidating attire to the child victims. 
Boy.jpgTomorrow, I will continue to examine and evaluate the futuristic goals, aspirations and new ideas which need to be implemented into criminal investigations. There are specific needs for the law enforcement officials to become creative and innovative. There needs to be a specific criminal investigation unit which develops and provides methods and techniques which will streamline processes which are now seen as being obsolete.



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