by Alan Hodge
Mint Hill Police could quite possibly have the best dressed officers in the country.
The 34- sworn officer department has been nominated for a Best Dressed Public Safety Award from the North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors for public safety departments with fewer than 50 officers. The award winner will be announced at the association’s 2012 Expo and Convention March 11 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. Due to budget constraints, no one from the department will be attending the awards ceremony.
The prestigious award is given each year by the association to recognize excellence in professional dress for public safety departments nationwide.
Mint Hill is one of just four public safety departments with fewer than 50 members to be nominated for the award. A panel of judges selected the top four departments from a large pool of applicants. Association officials won’t say who Mint Hill faces as competition in its category.
The department was nominated by police equipment supply company Gall, where the department purchases its uniforms.
Mint Hill Police Captain Scott Hall is rightly proud the department beat out competition from across the nation to be nominated for the Best Dressed trophy. The department has been sporting its current uniform style since 2009.
Being nominated puts Mint Hill in some pretty good company. Other groups that have received public safety uniform awards from the association in the past include the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Connecticut State Police and the University of Kentucky Police.
In addition to police officers, other public safety groups the association gives uniform awards to include fire, EMS, and correctional departments.
“We are excited and honored to be nominated,” Hall said. “We chose our uniforms for their professional appearance as well as price.”
According to Hall, the main duty uniform for the department is known as the “Flying Cross” and is made by Fechheimer Brothers of Cincinnati, Ohio.
“The ‘Flying Cross’ holds a crease really well and is durable,” Hall said. “The shirt looks like it has buttons, but actually zips up the front so an officer can cool down quickly or if they get hurt it is easy to open and remove their ballistic plate.” According to Richard Lerman, association president, the department was nominated for the award after a rigorous selection process.
Criteria included overall design of the public safety department’s uniform program, innovative use of design for the conditions the uniform will be worn in, effectiveness in meeting image goals and overall attractiveness.
“Judges review each department’s professional appearance and uniform diversity, paying close attention to detail and written standards,” Lerman said. “Since many public safety professionals have specific assignments and patrol details, there are many factors to consider. Does the uniform fit the job function? Is the appearance neat and do the garments fit properly? Most importantly, can the public immediately identify the wearer as a professional, public safety officer?”