When police officers at the University of Texas Police at Houston (UT Police) gear up for duty, it usually requires the donning of a bulky body armor vest worn for protection beneath their uniform shirt. Thanks to a recent upgrade to uniforms by the Office of the Director of Police (ODOP) for all officers in the UT Police System, officers now have a cooler, more functional official garb.
An improvement to its predecessor, the new design by Blauer fits the body armor vest on top of a UT Police polo shirt. Because the vest features the same insignia as a traditional shirt, it is hardly distinguishable as a separate piece of the uniform.
“At a quick glance or from a distance you would not be able to notice a difference between an officer with a traditional button down shirt and one in the new armor carrier vest," said UT Police Property and Evidence Manager Abel Santillan, who oversaw the order and distribution of the new uniforms. "Having the armor as the outermost layer is proven to help keep officers cooler."
Associate Director Rob Ramos, a 36-year employee of UT Police who previously worked as a commissioned police officer, said that updates to uniforms are not uncommon.
“Since I have been here, we have changed uniforms a few times. Police officers used to wear white shirts until the late nineties,” recalled Ramos. “The uniforms then changed to a French blue shirt that went with pants that had a French blue pinstripe.”
The new uniform retains the navy blue color of the outgoing design.