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Thread: Request for study outcomes ref: "soft uniform" for detectives

  1. #1
    Chronic Leg Day Skipper BehindBlueI's's Avatar
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    Request for study outcomes ref: "soft uniform" for detectives

    Understand going in to this that I am not looking for anecdotes or personal preferences. I am looking solely for completed studies, preferably conducted within the last 5-ish years or so, that address some or all of the following:

    Does this benefit the Detectives? (for example, did applications to the unit increase? Did detectives report higher morale?)
    Does this benefit the Department? (for example, did clearance rates increase? Was there any affect on successful outcomes in interview/interrogation settings? )
    Does this benefit the Community? (for example, were there signs of changes in community trust? Did witnesses cooperate more readily? Did more people voluntarily seek out detectives to provide information?)

    This was requested by a member of my chain of command and I've not found anything recent that is applicable to detectives in the US. I can find plenty for Patrol and a hand full that at least touch on various foreign investigatory units, but nothing that fits my requirements of:

    From a law enforcement or academic entity that is "not this one"
    Is studying


    Note I *do not care in the slightest* if the study shows improved outcomes or worsened outcomes or neutral outcomes. I am not attempting to push policy, solely to provide the information requested so I'm crowdsourcing my job.
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  2. #2
    This may not fit your needs - the Lakewood CO police went to soft uniforms in the mid-80's, they no longer are doing that, you might want to check why.

    This was a dept wide thing IIRC, so may not meet your needs as to intent.

    I read your admonition and want to stress this is not a personal experience, rather a concern: I think that a soft uniform id's the detective, who may not have commo or armor.
    Adding nothing to the conversation since 2015....

  3. #3
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    That was a department-wide thing in Lakewood. A few other agencies tried it, but returned to conventional uniforms.

    In the bad old days of my former department (not to be confused with the current terrible days), we participated in a research project in which patrol officers driving marked units wore coats and ties. As I recall, the graduate students approached about thirty departments before finding us. As I recall, uniform versus plainclothes had no real effect.

    That's not quite on point, but if a forty year old study of that would be useful, I'll try to find it.

  4. #4
    I donít know of any studies, but I do remember when my old PD was looking at this, they ended up just calling a bunch of other departments in the area to see what they were doing.

    I remember being in favor of detectives wearing suits all the time until I was transferred out of my narc sergeant job to general investigations sergeant for a few months. I changed my mind immediately after being in a foot pursuit while wearing a suit. In the woods. In the snow.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BehindBlueI's View Post
    Understand going in to this that I am not looking for anecdotes or personal preferences. I am looking solely for completed studies, preferably conducted within the last 5-ish years or so
    My inputs are purely anecdotal, so no help here. I feel like if anyone has put serious time/money into researching this, it would be the handful of police uniform/gear suppliers out there. But I doubt they would release the results of their market research if it didn't benefit their bottom line.

    Seems like a good topic for an aspiring criminal justice major to pursue. I have no idea what they teach in CJ degree programs, but an overly ambitious undergrad could conceivably fill a need here.

  6. #6
    HAS ELECTROLYTES LittleLebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnc36rcpd View Post
    That was a department-wide thing in Lakewood. A few other agencies tried it, but returned to conventional uniforms.

    In the bad old days of my former department (not to be confused with the current terrible days), we participated in a research project in which patrol officers driving marked units wore coats and ties. As I recall, the graduate students approached about thirty departments before finding us. As I recall, uniform versus plainclothes had no real effect.

    That's not quite on point, but if a forty year old study of that would be useful, I'll try to find it.
    Good story, worth repeating.
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  7. #7
    I have nothing to offer but Iím curious. Are we talking khaki pants and polos with a badge or emblem?

    Would yíall have to wear them all the time or just when needed? Just units like homicide? I canít see it being good for VIN units. I also suspect it might reduce blue on blue but Iíve got nothing to prove that.

  8. #8
    Chronic Leg Day Skipper BehindBlueI's's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Cid View Post
    I have nothing to offer but Iím curious. Are we talking khaki pants and polos with a badge or emblem?

    Would yíall have to wear them all the time or just when needed? Just units like homicide? I canít see it being good for VIN units. I also suspect it might reduce blue on blue but Iíve got nothing to prove that.
    Just Homicide. It's currently suits or sport coat. There's a faction pushing for polos and a faction for keeping the suits. Polos were briefly authorized during COVID but somebody effed it up for everyone by looking like a bag of smashed assholes in the media and the next day it was suits again. The echelons above me want a study before any reopening of the topic of optional polos again. So far I've found nothing meeting the criteria outlined above, and neither have the other hand full of people who are looking. If we can't find anything, the topic remains off the table for now. It's a thing again because I have an advisory committee of detectives and sergeants I'm meeting with to update our unit SOP and job descriptions.

    Side note: Our Homicide Sergeant job description is so old it references checking the tele-type at the beginning of each shift for new cases. That puts it as being outdated sometime in the mid to late 80's as best I can tell. (I spoke to both my sergeants to let them know they were out of compliance. We discussed if it would be easier to find a tele-type machine to check or to simply time travel at the beginning of each shift to when it was available and relevant. To date neither of them have time traveled or found a tele-type to check, which will be reflected in their annual evaluations...) I haven't even gotten to the Homicide LT or CPT job descriptions. I'm assuming it will involve requistioning ponies for the unit and telegraphing neighboring departments about fugitives. Using the cheapest telegraph vendor available, of course.
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  9. #9
    Member jd950's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BehindBlueI's View Post
    Just Homicide. It's currently suits or sport coat. There's a faction pushing for polos and a faction for keeping the suits.
    I have nothing on this but the Adams County Sheriff's Office in Colorado is doing the polos and khaki thing for detectives and I believe it is fairly recent. [I]/I]if you care enough, you could reach out and see if they have what you are looking for from their own process. Knowing that office, I doubt there was any research, just a decision, but you might want to check.

  10. #10
    Site Supporter Erick Gelhaus's Avatar
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    Have you tried looking in Google Scholar? Absent being able to get into an academic (online) library, it isn't a bad place to start.

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