Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson

I suppose it is true. There is nothing permanent save change. Things have a way of not remaining the same.

Back in the 1950s when I began my career in law enforcement, the uniform of the day was business attire: white shirt, tie, suit, hat and leather dress shoes.

Today the look is more casual, military-like, shirts and jackets with police lettering, etc.

Coming from teaching to being a federal officer, I lacked the necessary new wardrobe. I sought out a discount warehouse in Baltimore, Maryland, and made a trip from Washington, D.C., to make purchases. I outfitted myself to meet the new dress code.

Maybe I acquired the James Bond look with smart tailoring and was ready to properly appear in the business and legal world.

I remember looking sharp even while dusting for fingerprints on a stolen aircraft. I also remember being hot riding in government automobiles that did not have air conditioning. But, I looked businesslike and that was the goal. Our attire was more formal and less relaxed.

Today’s officers wear uniforms with a more casual look and few wear hats or ties. Suits are worn in court, or for special occasions. Dress codes frown upon wild colors or ridiculous styles.

Ah, memories of the old days. Things change. Somehow it is nice to reflect on what was once the style and even wish for the non-military look to return.

Paramilitary uniforms have replaced the suit, shirt, tie, and the snappy hat; and, often police look more menacing and aggressive as they display the contents of their duty belts. Old timers in business attire carried concealed weapons. Any tactical gear carrier was not visible to the public.

Like they say, things don’t stay the same. Maybe you like the change. Maybe you remember and like things as they were.

The SWAT team look may please some; however, being old fashioned, I go for that business-attire look and even the snap-brim hat!

Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each week in the weekend edition of this newspaper.