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Reflective clothing & cars

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August 22, 2005

Reflective clothing & cars

Submitted by:
United Kingdom Patrolman Tim Knowles, Humberside Police

See: 7 tips for officer roadside safety


I have noticed something quite alarming amongst US officers when they make traffic stops on highways and at night. I base my observation on viewing TV news, COPS and other “reality” shows and a recent vacation and in the US which included 5 states, and a departmental visit. Not statistically compelling, I agree, but it’s still a fairly wide sample.  


My observation is that US officers rarely seem to wear reflective vests or tabards. Equally, US PD cars seem to be covered in pretty designs and corporate identifiers and commitment logos but not much protective marking.


I appreciate that there are tactical considerations to making a stop where many of the subjects may be armed, but stepping into a road with drivers moving past at high speed without some reflective gear on seems to be crazy from where I’m sit!


I also encounter armed and dangerous subjects but I tell you, I wouldn’t dream of exiting the vehicle without some high viz gear on! It takes a few seconds to go from tactical black to hi-viz and I think it’s nutty not to do so.


My force has a reflective strip on the rear of our vests and our cars are also well striped to increase visibility to the rear. Despite all that, I still find myself talking to people who say, “I didn’t see you.”




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