Ohio PD bans tactical vests for officers

Chief George Kral said the vests give the wrong image of police officers to the community

By Amanda Lien

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Toledo police chief has banned Molle tactical vests because of how they look.

Police Chief George Kral told WTVG he thinks officers wearing tactical vests that carry flashlights, knives and TASERs sends the wrong message for community policing.

“Picture this,” said Kral. “Two six-foot-three big strapping policemen are in a house and there’s a five-year-old child in the scene. And they see these guys with all of this, and the TASERs, on the vest. And it’s intimidating. … We’re not soldiers, we’re peace officers. In my opinion, that looks too much like a military soldier.”

The officers have been issued new vests and are training to adjust back to having their gear on their belts. Kral told WTVG he knows his decision isn’t popular with his officers, who say the vests helped relieve back and hip pain.

“What it comes down to is there are some young officers on this department who have never been said ‘no’ to before and they have to understand that I’m the chief of police and I make those decisions,” said Kral. “… But I know a big concern for the officers is with the vest because takes all of the pressure off of their back and their hips. … The new solution comes with a built-in suspender system that clips onto their belt keepers. It does the exact same thing.”

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