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Young Ninja Group (ages 3-5)

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Waylon Reed
Waylon Reed

Police Officer Suit

Josh Doggrell, a former police lieutenant in the city of Anniston, lost his job after the SPLC revealed in 2015 that he had addressed the annual gathering of the League of the South in 2013. He sued the city in 2016, claiming the firing violated his rights under the First Amendment and the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment.

Police officer suit

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After the SPLC brought the speech to light, the city manager placed Doggrell and another officer who attended the 2013 gathering on administrative leave and initiated an internal investigation, according to the ruling. He announced his decision to fire Doggrell two days later.

The city of Battle Ground has agreed to pay a $100,000 settlement, possibly the largest ever for the city, to one of its police officers who claimed city officials violated civil service rules. The settlement was required by a May 19 consent order issued by U.S. District Court Judge David G. Estudillo.

Officer Michele Fox filed suit in U.S. District Court in March against the city and Battle Ground Police Chief Michael Fort. In her suit, Fox claimed she was twice passed over for promotion because of her gender. Fox also claimed she was deterred from again taking the civil service examination in 2020, and was denied sergeant training opportunities.

According to Fox, Fort was a lieutenant at the time but was made acting police chief for at least part of the time between 2018 and 2020. The city said Fort was promoted to chief in February 2020 and that former Police Chief Robert Richardson made the promotion decisions, although Fort did advise Richardson on the promotion process and candidates.

Perez resigned from the police department in September 2020 after being arrested by the FBI for cheating on the police chief exam and lying to the FBI about it. He was sentenced to a year-and-a-day in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making a false statement. He was released from prison in January. He could not be reached for comment.

Most people can identify a police officer by the official police uniform. When citizens on a busy street are in need of help, they scan the crowds of pedestrians looking for the distinctive uniform of a police officer. Drivers who come to an intersection occupied by a person in a police uniform usually willingly submit to that person's hand directions. Criminals usually curb their unlawful behavior when they spot a uniformed police officer in the area. Many parents teach their children to respect and trust a person in the police uniform. Police academy recruits relish the day when they may finally wear their official police uniforms.

The crisp uniform of the police officer conveys power and authority. When a police officer puts on his or her uniform the officer is perceived in a very different way by the public. He or she is viewed as embodying each person's stereotypes about all police officers.

Research has suggested that clothing has a powerful impact on how people are perceived, and this goes for the police officer as well. The uniform of a police officer has been found to have a profound psychological impact on those who view it.

These first police officers, the famous "Bobbies" of London, were issued a dark blue, paramilitary-style uniform. The color blue was chosen to distinguish the police from the British military who wore red and white uniforms at the time.

To this day, the majority of police uniforms in. the United States continue to have a paramilitary appearance and are generally of a dark color. Darker colors may have been preferred for their case in cleaning and their ability to help conceal the wearer in tactical situations. Dark colors help cover up stains and keep the officer from being easily spotted by lawbreakers, especially at night. However, why do most police agencies insist on dressing patrol officers in uniforms? Is this simply because of tradition? Is it only for the ease of identification by citizens? Maybe it is because the uniform actually psychologically influences how officers are perceived by the public.

In one study people who were asked to rank order 25 different occupational uniforms by several categories of feelings. The test subjects consistently ranked the police uniform as the one most likely to induce feelings of safety.

Drivers were also found to commit far fewer turn violations at an intersection if a person wearing a police-style uniform was standing on the sidewalk near the corner. This occurred even though the uniform was not that of a real police department in the area and had no badge or weapons.

One interesting experiment to test the power of the police uniform was conducted by psychologist Dr. Leonard Bickman. Pedestrians on a city street were approached at random and ordered by a research assistant to either pick up a paper bag, give a dime to another person, or step back from a bus stop.

In one experiment students viewed black and white drawings of three styles of police uniforms. Two of the uniforms were of a traditional paramilitary-style, but were lacking a duly belt or weapons. The third, nontraditional uniform involved a sport coat blazer over slacks, and a shirt with a tie.

After wearing the new uniforms for 18 months, the Menlo Park police officers displayed fewer authoritarian characteristics on psychological tests when compared to officers in the surrounding jurisdictions. Also for that first 18 months with the new uniforms, assaults on the Menlo Park police decreased by 30% and injuries to civilians by the police dropped 50%. These changes were originally thought to have been a result of the uniform changes but there were other factors at work at die same time. The number of college-educated officers in the department increased dramatically and the traditional autocratic management style of the department was abolished during this same time period.

In 1977, after wearing the blazer style uniform for eight years, the Menlo Park Police Department realized that the sport coat uniform did not command respect and returned to a traditional, paramilitary-style uniform. A final evaluation showed that although assaults on officers had dropped during the first 18 month of wearing the new uniforms, the number of assaults steadily began to rise again until the rate was double that of the year before the uniform change occurred.

During the four years after the Menlo Park police returned to a traditional uniform, the number of assaults against their officers dropped steadily. The experiments with the hats and the style of the police uniform suggest that changes in the style of a police uniform can have an effect on the perceived authority, power, and ability to control. What about the color of the police uniform? Does the color of the uniform psychologically influence the people who view it? Does the color have an influence on the officer who is wearing the uniform?

Color has a considerable impact on clothing and perceptions of the wearer. Clothing color was found as the most common determinant when people rated pictures of models for attractiveness. Job applicants wearing dark business suits were perceived as more powerful and competent than those who wore lighter suits. Another interesting study found that referees who viewed several videotaped plays of a football game were more likely to assess stiffer penalties against a football team wearing a black uniform than a team wearing a brightly colored uniform. The referees consistently perceived the team in black as more aggressive. This experiment was supported by an analysis of all professional football and hockey teams in the U.S. which found that teams who wore dark colored uniforms were assessed far mom penalties for roughness than teams who wore lighter uniforms. Again these results suggest that teams in darker uniforms were perceived negatively by the referees.

If the results of these studies in color were applied to the police uniform, it would seem to suggest that darker police uniforms may be sending negative subconscious signals to citizens. A dark police uniform may be subconsciously encouraging citizens to perceive officers as aggressive evil, or corrupt. If this is true, the proliferation of blue-black police uniforms is sending a very negative message to the community. The experiment with the colored jerseys also suggests that police officers in dark uniforms may be subconsciously influenced to act more aggressively. If this is true, police uniform colors need to be modified across the nation.

In one experiment test subjects were presented with color photos of two traditional paramilitary-style uniforms. One of the uniforms consisted of the dark navy blue shirt and pants that is so commonly worn by municipal police agencies today. The other traditional uniform was that typical of California sheriff deputies, consisting of a khaki shirt and dark green pants. Although both uniforms ranked similarly as good, honest, helpful, and competent, the lighter colored sheriff uniform rated noticeably higher for warmth and friendliness. This finding is significant since the she-tiff uniform only has a light colored shirt, with the pants still being very dark. It would appear that a uniform which is only half dark sends a better message that the all blue/black uniform.

The police uniform may also influence the safety level of the officer who wears it. As has already been mentioned, dark colored uniforms may promote subconscious negative feelings from citizens. These negative feelings may encourage some citizens to consider violent action when confronted by the police because the citizen perceives the officer as aggressive.

Research has revealed that alterations to the traditional, paramilitary police uniform can result in changes in perceptions by the public. The style of the clothes, the type of hat worn, the color of the material and even the condition of the clothes and equipment has an influence on how citizens perceive the officer. For these reasons police administrators need to take their uniform policies seriously. The selection of a uniform style, regulations on the proper wear of the uniform, how well uniforms are maintained, and policies on when officers may wear plain clothes should all be taken very seriously. The police uniform should be considered an important tool for every patrol officer. 041b061a72


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