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Deputies in N.C. Win Best-Dressed Award

August 18, 2004

GRAHAM, N.C. (AP) _ It might help to say something flattering about the uniform the next time an Alamance County, N.C., deputy sheriff pulls you over. The deputies’ won a national award last month from the National Association of Uniform Manufacturers & Distributors for their spiffy outfits, which were introduced last year.

On Monday, the department modeled the new uniforms at a reception.

Sheriff Terry Johnson said he found deputies wearing a hodgepodge of uniforms in tan and brown when he took office in late 2002. Some were mismatched; many items were worn out or had holes in them.

Maj. Ron Parrish got the job of designing new uniforms.

``I have never seen such a disarray of things that should have been trashed a long time ago,″ Parrish said.

The department solicited uniforms from suppliers and had deputies vote on them. They decided on gray shirts and navy blue pants, with black belts and shoes. There’s also a dress version for formal occasions and a redesigned shoulder patch.

The uniforms aren’t just a matter of pride and professionalism, Johnson said, they also help officers control a situation by making them look more commanding and professional.

``The appearance of the officer many times stops a lot of aggression,″ Johnson said.

Parrish isn’t worried the fashion award might prompt a little teasing in the macho world of law enforcement.

``We’re setting a standard,″ he said. ``If you’re going to rib us, you’re jealous.″

Association officials gave the department a plaque for the honor. The new uniforms will be featured in an upcoming edition of Law and Order magazine.

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