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Park Police Get The Blues Over Tan Uniforms

May 11, 1992

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Police patrolling parks on the east side of the San Francisco Bay are getting the blues over their tan and olive outfits.

The 54 uniformed officers of the East Bay Regional Park District say their ranger-like ensembles don’t show their true colors and they’ve filed a grievance seeking a switch to the midnight blue sported by metropolitan police.

″We have a problem in our parks with identification. Our park rangers, the people who cut the grass and service the chemical toilets and mend the fences, wear the same uniform we do,″ said Fred Michael, president of the district’s police officer’s union.

″The perception of the park district is that we don’t deal with crimes per se, (that) we deal with lost children and fishing violations and things like this,″ Michael said. In fact, park police have to face the same unsavory mix as city cops, he said.

But district officials say switching uniforms could cost $30,000. And they’re not sure park police need to dress like their municipal counterparts.

″There’s some concern about the philosophy of law enforcement in a park setting,″ said Peter Sarna, parks director of public safety.

A May 22 meeting is set to hear the grievance.

The importance of color is not lost on the New York-based National Association of Uniform Manufacturers.

For many departments, dark blue is the color of choice, said spokeswoman Jackie Rosselli.

″It’s perceived as a conservative look and it’s also perceived as an image of authority,″ she said.

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