OPP uniforms returning to traditional peaked caps
The Ontario Provincial Police are changing their look as officers will return to wearing peaked caps instead of the Stetson wide-brimmed hat, CTV News has learned.
Many officers dislike the Stetson hats because they often blow off in the wind at radar traps and they are too tall, which forces some officers to remove them while sitting in a cruiser because they hit the roof, CTV's Jim Junkin reported. Some officers call the hats the "sombrero."
Members of the force originally wore the Stetsons from 1910 until the mid-1920s, but they were gradually replaced with the peaked caps.
The OPP returned to the Stetsons in 1997, "primarily out of concern for officers exposed to ultra-violet rays over time," according to the Ontario Provincial Police Association website.
The association pitched the idea of returning to the blue-on-blue peaked caps to Commissioner Julian Fantino when he was appointed in October 2006.
"It's not that we don't like them, they're just not as practical as what these are for the kind of work that our people are doing," Fantino told CTV Toronto.
"There's a climate for change and we're going to be changing."
OPPA president Karl Walsh said officers are excited about the change and the move will boost morale on the force.
The initiative is also cost effective as the new hats cost taxpayers about $40 each compared to the Stetsons, which cost about $80 each. Some officers also went through several Stetsons a year.
Officers should begin wearing the peaked caps in a few weeks.
The hat decision is not the first aesthetic change under Fantino's leadership. Soon after he took over the reigns, he changed the cruisers back to the traditional black-and-white exterior from the white models that had blue and gold stripes.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Jim Junkin