Provided by North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers & Distributors
The North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers & Distributors (NAUMD) has announced the winners of its annual Best Dressed Public Safety Award Competition, a program that calls attention to the important role uniforms play in law enforcement and public safety. The award celebrates the suppliers, law enforcement departments and first responders that go the extra mile to create versatile, functional and stylish uniforms that represent public safety professionals.
To some, uniforms are prosaic and ordinary, but to the departments who have entered the NAUMD’s Best Dressed Public Safety Award Competition, uniforms have a greater meaning and purpose. “Uniforms have a powerful impact on how employees are perceived, and this is particularly true in law enforcement and public safety,” says Steve Zalkin, NAUMD president. “In law enforcement, a visible, uniformed public safety presence on the street, at a mall or other institution can add a sense of security and help comfort the public or allay fears.”
Toledo Police Department, Ohio — Medium Size Department
Superior Uniform Sales, Supplier
The Toledo PD was the first public safety department in Northwest Ohio to adopt all-navy uniforms, paving the way for every single department in the area. The TPD utilizes four different types of uniforms. The first is their dress uniform, comprised of a navy, long-sleeve polyester Elbeco shirt paired with a black Samuel Broome tie and navy Flying Cross trousers. A navy blue Flying Cross blouse coat with gold or silver buttons (depending on rank) and a Pershing-style cap complete the ensemble. Next is the department’s everyday work uniform, which consists of navy blue short and long-sleeve Elbeco shirts and external cargo pants by Flying Cross. TPD’s specialty units include SWAT, K-9, Training, Gang, and Bike Patrol. SWAT, K-9, and Gang teams wear Blauer tops with mini ripstop pants by Flying Cross. The Training Academy members are distinguished by embroidered, tactical polos by 5.11. Bike Patrol officers wear Blauer tops with versatile zip-off pants and shorts. Lastly, TPD’s Honor Guard uniform consists of a Flying Cross dress coat with special royal blue and black double braids sewn onto each sleeve.
This marks the third year in a row Superior has been recognized by NAUMD. “[This] is an incredible honor for us,” says Alyssa Darah, Director of Marketing and Business Development for Superior Uniform Sales Inc. “We believe these victories are a true reflection of our brave customers in law enforcement, our 18 staff members are driver by our mission and our solid supplier partners.”
The uniform’s items were chosen for various reasons, she explains. External vest carriers and under-vest uniform shirts were incorporated to allow ease of movement and improved ventilation, while other items were selected to enhance the comfort and functionality of the officers’ uniforms. Superior assists departments in the selection process by discussing needs, desired outcomes as well as likes and dislikes from past uniforms. “Based on all the data we’ve gathered,” Darah says, “we suggest specific styles and fabrics before supplying wear-test for evaluation. The garments are first selected with guidance from our team, then evaluated through field tests for performance, durability, functionality, and ease of care.”
Metropolitan Police, Washington D.C. — Large Department
After decades of wearing light-blue uniform shirts, MPD made the change to navy blue. With the new design, comfort and functionality provide the greatest benefit. Switching to a design that puts the bullet-resistant vests on top of the shirts is also a welcome change. With the lighter-colored shirts, police were required to wear the vests underneath so as not to cover up their uniforms. Officers complained of excessive sweating, rashes and itching. Now, the department uses a new Blauer uniform for the majority of their agency. The design features hidden, internal suspenders to more evenly distribute the weight of the gun belt and potentially ease back pain. In addition to the comfort factor, the garments are easier to wash, and added plus. A representative for Muscatello’s was unavailable for comment.
Judges review each department’s professional appearance and uniform diversity, paying close attention to detail and written standards. Since many officers have specific assignments and patrol details, there are many factors to consider, including:
- Does the uniform fit the job function?
- Is the appearance neat and do the garments fit properly?
- Can the public immediately identify the wearer as a professional law enforcement officer?
Entries for the Best Dressed Public Safety Award Competition are solicited throughout fall and winter. Winners are announced at the NAUMD’s convention each spring. All winning departments and their suppliers receive plaques.