The Real Reason Police Uniforms Are Blue!

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Our law enforcement officers have a tough job. Tough jobs require practical clothing. Since police officers deal with all types of people in all kinds of circumstances on the job, their uniforms have to be able to withstand all kinds of wear and tear and uncommon stains that occur under unusual circumstances throughout their shifts.

Do you remember when police officers used to wear white shirts?  Well, I’m sure you can imagine white doesn’t hold up very well after a long day with robbers and criminals. The real reason officers wear dark really comes down to practicality.

As pointed out by Today I Found Out, there are a few reasons why police have predominantly chosen to wear blue uniforms.

The original reason police began wearing dark blue uniforms was actually quite simple. The first formally established police department in the U.S., the New York City Police Department in 1845, based its uniforms on the London police force, which wore blue uniforms to distinguish itself from the British military’s red, according to an article published by the law enforcement-oriented website

In later decades, other cities established their police forces after the Civil War and their uniforms were simply surplus uniforms from the Union army. The Los Angeles Police Department, formed in 1869, was one such outfit.

More than 150 years after the Civil War, though, dark blue is still appealing for several reasons. For one, it is one of the easiest colors to clean and maintain, rather than lighter colored uniforms.

For professional purposes, dark blue uniforms better conceal stains that could get on a uniform while officers are on duty — and physically engaging in activities that can be tough on clothing, from standing in the rain to fighting with a criminal.

In terms of safety, officers have primarily continued to wear darker uniforms because it makes them harder to see at night.

When officers are patrolling at night or looking for suspects, they want to remain inconspicuous, and not easily noticeable to those they are watching or trying to capture.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore County police officers who worked on the graveyard shift stopped wearing white uniform shirts in 1996 because the light color made them feel vulnerable to being spotted by criminals.

“The officers feel safer with the dark shirts on at night,” Sgt. Joseph E. Burris, who worked in the Technical Support Services Division, told the newspaper. “They have been asking for this for years. It’s the perception, and the perception is as important as reality.”

While police in various states may not wear navy blue uniforms, the basic idea behind why many police departments have stuck with darker colors remains clear — they are easier to maintain and act as a natural camouflage in times of danger. That dark blue could literally save a life some night.

So there you have it! Darker color uniforms not only are practical but they save more lives. Police officers don’t stick out like sore thumbs anymore.

Generally speaking, police officers wear dark blue unforms, sheriff’s wear tan with dark green trousers and highway patrol wear tan uniforms.  Regardless of the color, all officers put their lives on the line each and every day serving and protecting citizens in their communities. It’s a tough job and it requires a tough, but practical uniform. In most cities these days, I’m sure a lot more officers are wearing bullet proof vests as well.

God Bless all those who serve and protect our communities! It’s a tough job, working with rough people and often in really bad neighborhoods. For most people, you couldn’t pay them enough, especially in a city like Chicago.


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