Out of the blue: Lansing cops set to shift to much darker uniforms

Lansing Police Department uses federal grants to offset uniform replacements

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TUESDAY, Sept. 29 — Lansing police officers will look a bit different over the next few months as they ditch their traditional powder blue uniforms for tactical vests and much darker shades of blue.

Road patrol officers at the Lansing Police Department are being fitted for new uniforms this week. And by next year, every cop in Lansing will have shifted away from the traditional baby blue shirts and navy-blue slacks that have been worn by cops in the capital city since the 1950s.

“The new uniform is lighter and has more technically advanced properties regarding flammables, the spread of germs and breathes better,” officials told City Pulse today.

Many uniform supply companies are also no longer producing the light blue design, officials explained. As a result, they’ve become increasingly rare — and expensive — to regularly replace. Plus federal grants covered about $56,000 of the $117,000 in replacement costs.

About $61,000 still comes from LPD’s general fund, which would usually cover uniform costs. The existing uniforms will be saved but used only for “special occasions,” a spokesman added.

The Ingham County Sheriff’s Department also redesigned its uniforms last year, moving from brown to a darker black and grey design. Those uniforms are also reportedly lighter, more comfortable and cheaper than brown uniforms, which are also becoming increasingly scarce.

Some research from the University of Texas at El Paso suggests that clothing, such as police uniforms, could implicitly affect the behavior of the wearer. One study found that those who wear darker clothing could be perceived more negatively or demonstrate more aggressive behavior.

Experts on policing have also said that uniforms are closely correlated with public perception. Many agencies believe that lighter uniforms reflect a stronger commitment to “community policing,” whereas darker uniforms tend to project authority, reports the Washington Post.

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