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The Thin Blue Image Gets Green Light

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Escondido police officers are turning blue.

The City Council on Wednesday approved an advance in uniform allowance, paving the way for officers’ uniforms to change from tan to blue next year.

The 135-member Escondido Police Officers Assn. earlier this month overwhelmingly voted to make the uniform switch, said Officer Pete Acevedo, treasurer for the association.

Morale was the No. 1 incentive for the switch, he said.

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“It changes the appearance of the officer in that he looks a lot sharper in a blue uniform than a tan one,” Acevedo said. “It makes him look thinner.”

Acevedo added that officers have had a hard time finding tan shirts and pants that match.

“If you look at very many officers, the shirt would be a different color than the pants,” with one being darker than the other, Acevedo said. “The manufacturer uses a different lot when they make the shirts and pants, and it’s never the same.”

In making the switch to the blue uniform, the Escondido Police Department is following a trend among law enforcement agencies in the state, Assistant Chief Mike Stein said. The El Cajon Police Department switched to a blue uniform Dec. 1.

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“The guys think that (the blue) is more prestigious, and the community would like it better, and it would stick out more than the tan,” Stein said.

“It’s an image thing. Law enforcement in Escondido is judged somewhat by a person’s appearance,” said Stein, adding that, as far as he remembers, the city’s officers have worn tan since he started on the force 25 years ago.

The council action advances $400 in uniform allowances to officers on top of the $200 that officers were scheduled to receive Jan. 1. Officers normally receive $200 in uniform allowances on Jan. 1 and July 1 of every year.


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