“We’re not soldiers, we’re peace officers.” That’s how Toledo Police Chief George Kral explained his decision to take away Molle tactical vests from his officers. The move became official February 1. The Ohio police chief bans tactical vests, forcing officers to carry essential gear on their belts. And the officers are not happy.
Ohio Police Chief Bans Tactical Vests
For officers, the Molle-style tactical vests aren’t necessarily about stopping a bullet. The police force switched to a different type of vest for protection. However, the Molle vests Toledo used did go a long way in better supporting the weight of the officers’ gear.
Often law enforcement officers carry a wide array of gear. Gear can include magazines, hand cuffs, radios, flash lights, Tasers, and on and on. What’s disturbing about this story, then, isn’t that the chief changed the gear. That would be fine if he swapped out to a piece of kit that enabled officers to do their job better. What’s troubling is that Chief Kral switched out the gear because it looked intimidating.
“In my opinion, that looks too much like a military soldier,” Kral said, according to 13abc.com. He goes on to give a long hypothetical scenario where large, tactical-looking officers enter a home. There, a small child sees the men in tactical vests. “There’s a 5-year-old child there in the scene. And they see these guys, with all of this … the Tasers, and everything else on the vest. It’s intimidating, and the last thing we want to do is intimidate people.”
Taking away essential gear from officers, because it looks intimidating? That seems unacceptable here. Officers have a tough enough job already, without taking away the kit they want and need.