Can clothes curb crime in Avon?
Vail, CO Colorado
AVON ” Matt Bryan hasn’t noticed Avon police’s new, navy blue uniforms, mostly because he skateboards on the ramp in his skateboard shop.
“We don’t have to skate illegally as much anymore,” said Bryan, who owns the Boardroom, a skateboard shop in Avon.
And many other residents who don’t often come in contact with police haven’t noticed the new outfits either. But those who have seen the uniforms like them better than the old, light blue ones, they say.
Avon police adopted the new uniforms for a “traditional” look and because a survey of police showed they disliked their old ones, said Avon police Chief Brian Kozak.
The results from a 2006 survey of residents also played a role in the decision, Kozak said.
Residents gave police a “B” when asked whether police looked professional, according to the survey.
The new uniform also has a “stretch Lycra” material that makes for better mobility, police said.
Avon police officer Dave Wineman has not had to run after anybody in his new uniform, so he didn’t know whether the extra mobility would make him faster, he said.
Regardless of the type of uniform, criminals can’t escape, he said.
“If they can outrun my legs, they’re not going to outrun this microphone on my lapel here,” Wineman said. “I always catch them with my radio.”
“From what I’ve seen, I don’t think there’s a cop in this town that could catch any kid on a skateboard,” Bryan said. “In a car sure, but on foot, not likely.”
Daniel Hershman, of Edwards, thinks police would stand out better in a lighter color, he said.
“I haven’t really noticed them, so they’re probably not real flashy or anything,” Hershman said about the new uniforms.
Studies show that an officer’s appearance alone can prevent crime, Kozak said.
“You definitely want to look very professional in your uniform because that’s your first stance when you contact someone,” Wineman said.
It doesn’t take clothes to spot a police officer ” it’s the way they walk and cut their hair, even when they’re not wearing a uniform, said Ashleigh Scanlon, who works in Avon.
“I mean, we had a cop come in here yesterday and he had the nice cop mustache,” Scanlon said. “Right away I asked him, ‘Oh, what to you do,’ and he said, ‘Oh, I’m a police officer,’ and we could tell.”
The color of a police uniform doesn’t matter as long as they look “official,” said Brenna Simpson who works in Avon. But Simpson acknowledged the darker ones might make a criminal think twice.
“If I were a crime-committing person, they may seem more authoritative with a darker kind of traditional police color, so sure,” Simpson said. “It’s better than purple or something like that.”
Police looked like “janitorial staff” in their old, light blue uniforms, said Harrison Huntoon, of Avon.
“I guess the dark blue ones fit the image of a law enforcement officer,” Huntoon said.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or email@example.com.