New Pittsburgh police bulletproof vest met with mixed reactions

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PITTSBURGH - Target 11 investigator Rick Earle has confirmed that a certain type of bulletproof vest is now banned by the Pittsburgh police force.

Pittsburgh police patrol officers are no longer allowed to wear the external bulletproof vest that blends into their uniform.

New Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar said he banned them because he believes they’re too intimidating.

“Wearing that vest on the outside creates an image that is confrontational and right now, we’re trying not to be that kind of police department,” said police spokeswoman Sonya Toler. “This is not a military situation.”

However, the decision has upset some officers so said it’s a safety and health issue. They argue they rely on the convenience and comfort of the external vest, saying it’s quick and easy to take on and off.

“The last thing we want to do is not have officers wearing bulletproof vests,” said police union vice president Jim Glick.

Some officers Earle talked to said the design makes it look similar to an officer’s shirt and they fear officers won’t wear the internal vests because of issues with heat and mobility.

“On a day like this that it’s very humid, the internal vest gets very hot and they’re uncomfortable,” Glick said.

‘We’re just trying to tighten up a bit and protect an image that’s more in line with the professional police department that we have,” Toler said.