Kansas City cops test new uniforms

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With the summer heat arriving early, police are testing new uniforms that are designed to be breathable and more comfortable.

Some citizens already have misidentified officers wearing the new styles.

Kansas Citians know their police officers by the french blue shirts they wear. It's been that way for more than 30 years.

But you soon may encounter one of 17 officers currently testing a navy blue uniform, which some associate with Independence, Raytown or other suburban police agencies.

It's one of three new uniforms being tested this summer by officers in the field.

Instead of the wool-blend pants officers currently wear, the new uniforms have modern materials, designed to be durable and lighter weight on officers, who already carry 20 to 25 pounds of gear.

"Some of our officers wear, you probably have seen them, the Molly vest, the outer vest," said Capt. Donald Jantzen, a member of the uniform committee. "It's got a black carrier that goes over the shirt they are wearing. It's the same style of shirt, but it’s got dry-fit material from the chest down. It's a lot cooler for an officer who wears that style of vest."

Police do not purchase their uniforms, but are responsible for taking care of them. The current uniform must be dry cleaned. The new options are considered washable.

Testing the new styles will last until mid-August. The uniform committee then will make a recommendation to Chief Richard Smith, who makes the final decision on whether police officers will change the way they look.