Police uniform fight funneling down to supply shops

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A battle about uniforms between the Phoenix Police Department and the officers' union is having a snowball effect on law enforcement supply shops.

As of last Monday, patrol officers had to start wearing a more formal, dress type of uniform.  Previously they had two options, including a more lightweight, casual uniform, which the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association argues is more comfortable, versatile, and safer.

However, Chief Daniel Garcia, who mandated the change, said two uniforms can be confusing, and the more casual one could make it easier to impersonate a police officer.

Now, many uniform supply shops are stuck with inventory they have already paid for.  

"It's a little inconvenient monetarily," said Luezelena Homan of Universal Police Supply in Tempe.  "We're going to try to outsource to other agencies a little." 

However, there are very few agencies in Arizona that wear black, like the old Phoenix option.

PLEA is in grievance talks with the department.  However, representatives say they will likely have to go to arbitration.