Animal Welfare Professionals

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Uniforms

  • 1.  Uniforms

    Posted 09-21-2021 05:06 PM
    Edited by Tracy Mohr 09-21-2021 05:22 PM
    My apologies if this has been discussed before, but a search didn't come up with anything.

    We are a small municipal shelter and we are part of the Police Department.  Our ACO's are non-sworn, and have always worn the same uniform as our Community Service Officers, which is very much like our Police Officers, just a different color: traditional uniform shirt with badge and name plate (vest under the shirt), duty belt with radio, and recently added body cams, and now there is some discussion about adding tasers.  The ACO trucks have "Police" written along the side in big letters.

    I just had a great conversation with my Police Captain about moving to a polo shirt (with an external vest as needed).  He said he was thinking about that as well and he said he would go as far as taking "Police" off the side of the trucks and going to a City logo.

    He would like me to do further research on other cities that have made the switch to a non-uniformed model of Animal Control.  What type of uniform are you using?  Have you noticed a change in how the public responds to your officers, and have there been an issues with your officers not being in uniform?

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Please feel free to share examples!

    Thanks!
    #FieldServicesandPublicSafety*

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    Tracy Mohr
    Animal Services Manager
    City of Chico Animal Services
    5308945630
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  • 2.  RE: Uniforms

    Posted 10-06-2021 01:03 PM
    Hi Tracy, I was waiting to respond to see if others shared their opinions but I haven't seen any.  We have a traditional Sheriff/CHP type uniform with tan uniform top and green pants.  Our officers wear their badge on their chest with a name plate as well.  We have an optional "softer uniform" which is a polo and BDU pants.  Our vehicles are marked with the City Logo and "Animal Services" below the logo.

    We have made the soft uniform optional because some officers feel that it puts their safety in danger as it doesn't clearly identify them as law enforcement without the badge.  We have had some incidences of physical assault on our officers one which resulted in a broken collar bone and another where officers were attacked with a fire extinguisher but the uniform being worn is not consistent in these incidences.  Our officers do not carry tasers, or pepper spray and we do not have a use of force policy.  Some argue that the softer uniform is at fault and others believe it is the traditional uniform at fault as some populations dislike law enforcement.

    I would be curious to see the experiences others have had.  For now we will continue to offer both options and leave it to the officers discretion.

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    Annette G. Ramirez
    Assistant General Manager
    Los Angeles Animal Services
    213-482-9558
    -------

    Field Services and Public Safety &
    Laws and Public Policy Specialist
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Uniforms

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 10-07-2021 10:07 AM
    @Annette Ramirez Thank you so much for sharing given the experience of your officers and the controversy surrounding law enforcement.  I'm truly saddened that this has occurred in your service area and likely many others. It's such an important topic that we need to openly and transparently discuss and research. Again, thank you for sharing your voice and elevating this! Thank you @Tracy Mohr too!​

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    Thank you all for all you do!

    Amber Freiwald
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 4.  RE: Uniforms

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 10-07-2021 10:37 AM
    Wow, Annette, it never crossed my mind that a "softer" uniform could lead to these types of issues! I assumed that it would feel less authoritarian and make the officers more approachable but now I can see how the flip side is that it also could make people question the officer's "official" authority.  I really like that you leave the uniform choice up to each officer's own discretion.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I'm sure it will be helpful to others who are considering the pros and cons of uniform types.

    ------------------------------
    Kim Domerofski (she/her)
    Community Manager
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 5.  RE: Uniforms

    Posted 10-07-2021 12:41 PM
    Hi Annette!

    Your feedback is very helpful!

    When I did animal control on the east coast, we did not want to look like police officers because it would have put us in danger, so we wore tees with the state association logo (badge) on the front and large letters on the back that said Animal Control Officer, but also carried a badge.  We only wore uniforms when we went to court.  (This was in the days before ballistic vests!)

    I think that's interesting that your officers have a choice of which uniform they want to wear.  I had never thought of that.  Our officers also do not carry pepper spray.   Our officers are non-sworn and their function is enforcing muni codes like off leash, barking dog, etc. and making sure animals are quarantined.  We don't do cruelty cases, that is handled by our police officers.  Our community is fairly police friendly.  Any time we have a citizen that is getting out of hand, we have sworn officers if needed for backup.  Our Captain views our role as being similar to Code Enforcement and Parking Enforcement, and those personnel do not wear traditional uniforms, they wear polos and BDU pants, but do have badges.

    Here is my observation with our officers:  The ones that want to keep the traditional uniform also bring up the need for a badge and a uniform in order to get "respect" from the public.  They tend to have a more authoritarian approach with people, have more conflicts with the public and get more complaints.  They are the ones that feel they need to "win" every encounter.  The ones that want to go to something more "friendly" tend to take a softer approach with the public, get more compliance, fewer complaints and actually get complements.   They tend to problem solve about getting compliance, rather than try to force people to comply.  (We always have police officers to back us up if needed.)    These are generalities, of course. 

    We are part of the PD, and their focus is community oriented policing.  So we are moving away from a traditional enforcement focused model to one where we are trying to help people with animal issues, whether it's their own animal or an animal in the community (wild or domestic).  I think that any good officer can get compliance or help the community regardless of what they are wearing, but the perception is that the more official uniform is somewhat of a barrier, both physically and psychologically to doing that in an optimal way.  

    I've only heard back from a few organizations, and it's 6 to one in favor of non-traditional uniforms.
    I hope other organizations share their experiences.

    Thanks again, Annette!





    ------------------------------
    Tracy Mohr
    Animal Services Manager
    City of Chico Animal Services
    5308945630
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Uniforms

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 10-07-2021 12:03 PM
    Hi everyone,

    Really interesting discussion.  I put together a quick survey looking for feedback re  pro/con experiences related to this topic. @Tracy Mohr @Annette Ramirez and anyone else who sees this, do you have any feedback about this potential survey?

    Sheila​​​

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    Sheila Segurson, DVM
    Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
    Maddie's Fund
    9258608284
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  • 7.  RE: Uniforms

    Posted 10-07-2021 12:49 PM
    Nice!
    I like Josh's comments. 
    Maybe a question about whether officers wear ballistic vests?   Not sure every agency does. 
    Maybe a question about the level of enforcement - just issuing citations vs. seizing animals/prosecuting cruelty cases.

    ------------------------------
    Tracy Mohr
    Animal Services Manager
    City of Chico Animal Services
    5308945630
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Uniforms

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 10-07-2021 01:45 PM
    Thx Tracy. Can you suggest wording for the level of enforcement question?  either here or in the doc?

    Sheila

    ------------------------------
    Sheila Segurson, DVM
    Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
    Maddie's Fund
    9258608284
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Uniforms

    Posted 10-07-2021 02:43 PM
    Comments on doc

    ------------------------------
    Tracy Mohr
    Animal Services Manager
    City of Chico Animal Services
    5308945630
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  • 10.  RE: Uniforms

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 10-08-2021 01:42 PM
    I added a couple comments to the survey, Sheila! Have you thought about partnering with NACA on it?

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    Shelly Thompson
    Director of Operations
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 11.  RE: Uniforms

    Posted 10-08-2021 02:05 PM
    I originally thought about approaching NACA about doing a survey.  I think you would get a good response if they shared it with their membership.

    ------------------------------
    Tracy Mohr
    Animal Services Manager
    City of Chico Animal Services
    5308945630
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Uniforms

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 10-08-2021 02:48 PM
    Edited by Charlotte Otero 10-22-2021 12:08 PM
    Yes, I contacted NACA yesterday! 
    Sheila 

    Sheila D'Arpino Segurson, DVM, DACVB
    Research Director
    Maddie's Fund
    maddiesfund.org
    925 860-8284
    Please excuse typos and abbreviations. Sent from my iPhone
    I originally thought about approaching NACA about doing a survey.  I think you would get a good response if they shared it with their membership. ...



  • 13.  RE: Uniforms

    Posted 10-11-2021 12:49 PM
      |   view attached
    Tracy,

     This is a great discussion post. Our ACO's wear polo style shirts with a logo on them and they wear Khaki cargo style pants. The trucks have a city logo on them and they also specify that they are animal control. Our ACO unforms are not similar to police officers. I will try to find a photo and attach it.

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    Marissa Reid
    LifeLine Animal Project
    678.239.1901
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  • 14.  RE: Uniforms

    Posted 10-27-2021 04:26 PM
      |   view attached
    Hi all!! I am sharing on behalf of NACA and Maddie's the survey results. Its about half and half responded so we still have some work to do in terms of digging into this topic a little more and finding out from both the community and the officers on what they need/want/would like and why. NACA has 456 people respond, which is ok - not great but not bad! 

    Summary: A question on Maddie's® Pet Forum about Animal Control Officer uniforms prompted Maddie's Fund to create a survey regarding what types of uniforms that officers wear and their satisfaction with different types. The survey was conducted in October of 2021 and collected 456 responses.

    Overall, 51.6% of respondents reported that their officers wear ballistic vests. 41% reported that their officers only wear sheriff/police type uniforms, 40% reported that their officers only wear alternative uniform types (e.g., polo shirt), and 19% wear both uniform types. Satisfaction was higher with alternative uniforms (6.8/10) than with traditional uniforms (5.1/10).

    I am loving this conversation and would like to keep it going to see where it leads us!! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the results in the Power Point attached!

    ------------------------------
    Jerrica Owen, CAWA
    Director of Partnerships and Programs
    National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA)
    jowen@nacanet.org
    619.551.9864
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    Attachment(s)

    pptx
    Animal Control Uniforms.pptx   614 KB 1 version


  • 15.  RE: Uniforms

    Posted 10-28-2021 04:26 PM
    Wow!  This is great.  Thanks so much for making this happen and compiling the data!  I can't wait to share with my supervisor.

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    Tracy Mohr
    Animal Services Manager
    City of Chico Animal Services
    5308945630
    ------------------------------