Cincinnati Police Uniforms

Cincinnati Police UniformOkay, I tried. I gave it a long time and really tried to like the new look of the Cincinnati Police Department Uniforms. I tried, and I failed. It is not that I do not like change. I embrace change, when change is needed. But changing the Cincinnati Police Department uniforms was not needed. It was done for the sake of former Police Chief James E. Craig. James Craig spent most of his police career in Los Angeles. He was familiar with the Los Angeles Police Department. In order to feel at home in Cincinnati he set about changing the Cincinnati Police Department to be modeled after the LAPD including changing the names of Bureaus and Sections and changing the uniform. I am sure he was successful in making himself more at home, but in the process, he made everybody else strangers.  Instead of him embracing the Cincinnati Police Tradition, he abandoned tradition and made CPD look and feel like LAPD.

The thing is, there was really no good reason to change the uniform.l The traditional uniform of blue pants, white shirt, and white hat has served the department and the community well for over seventy years. It would quickly identify a police officer to a citizen or another officer. The uniform would stand out in a crowd and left no doubt that the person you were seeing was a Cincinnati Police Officer. This ability to quickly identify was of great comfort to any officer needing help who was awash in a sea of tank tops and wife beater t-shirts. additionally The uniform is no longer uniform. Five officers can be standing in a group and each is dresses slightly different. That is not uniform.

It has been said that the white hats and white shirts make easy targets. To my knowledge this has never been proven.    It would probably work both ways.  In a dark building or at night, the white shirt would stand out.  In bright light or a well-lit building, the black shirt would stand out.    That argument holds no water.   But that brings me to my final point. Many good men died while wearing the uniform of a Cincinnati Police Officer. And many were laid to eternal rest in the uniform. So today to say the uniform is no longer a symbol of the heroics of these officers is to trample on their graves. I think this effect of the uniform change bothers me more than anything else.


Those are my thoughts, what are yours?


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Tom Lind

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  1. Dan McDonaldJuly 13, 2013

    Tom: An outstanding article that parallels my thoughts exactly. In addition, I don’t know if you remember the days we used to do point traffic in every intersection in the downtown area during the holiday season. I spent many a cold, cold day and evening directing such traffic when I was a young puppy. I can not count the numbers of times people would comment as they past that they loved the dressy looking uniforms and they added to the professional look they enjoyed. Chief What’s His Name destroyed this and I fear it will never come back. Such a shame.

  2. Scott5 WarrenJuly 13, 2013

    Just what we need. A military, Gestopo, looking uniform. The old uniforms gave trust, these give the feeling of, Screw you, you are all perps, this city is now a police state. I loved the old “uniforms”, the people in them appeared approachable, not some damn Nazi. The ones wearing these uniforms will act in kind to the sterness they display. Police are here to help, not torment.

  3. Len LaBrecqueJuly 13, 2013

    As a member of the Cincinnati Police for nearly 40 years I have to say I hated the white shirts. When laid off in 1976 I was hired by another department and was in a all dark blue uniform and loved it. Plus if you ever worked nights, and had shots being fired around you, as I had many times, you felt like a target in white. As a kid reading about the revolutionary war I wondered why the British wore red uniforms. How dumb was that! White is just as dumb.
    For those sitting at a desk, a white shirt if fine, in the field, horrible.

  4. Len LaBrecqueJuly 13, 2013

    P.S. as to your white not being more noticeable: lets play hid and seek at night. you were a white sheet and I will wear dark, see who wins.

  5. Chuck LawrenceMay 4, 2023

    Have you any idea how hard it is to keep a white uniform clean? After a foot pursuit, or god forbid a struggle with a suspect on any sort of surface, now your uniform looks like complete crap. I’d choose practical over “classy” any day.


Feel free to comment, why should I have the last word.

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