By Rick Bella
LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. — Lake Oswego police are puzzled over how a police uniform shirt with department patches recently showed up in a thrift store. But they aren't very concerned.
Capt. Dale Jorgensen, a Lake Oswego Police Department spokesman, said there are several ways a shirt could have wound up among donations to Goodwill Industries.
"It could have been from someone who no longer worked for the department, or it could have been left behind after a divorce — lots of ways," Jorgensen said. "But it really doesn't matter. You can buy a shirt in a uniform store. You can find the patches online. But what makes a shirt a police shirt is a real police badge, which you can't easily get."
The Lake Oswego shirt showed up at Milwaukie-area store, along with a Portland Police Bureau shirt. Customers bought the shirts, then informed the respective agencies.
Jorgensen said Oregon law prohibits impersonation of a police officer if used to obtain some benefit, or to injure or defraud another.
"So you can wear a police uniform with all the patches to a Halloween party — no problem," Jorgensen said. "But if you step out in the street wearing that uniform and stop traffic, you would be breaking the law."
Jorgensen said most Lake Oswego officers arrive at work wearing their personal clothing and change into their uniforms in a locker room. The department takes care of laundry and cleaning. If a uniform becomes damaged or no longer fits, it is thrown in a box for incineration.
"Almost nobody takes them home," Jorgensen said. "So in this case, who knows what happened?"
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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