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CCU Atheneum: The Department of Public Safety at Coastal Carolina University has new uniforms that provide dual benefits of comfort and professionalism while ensuring safety.
The Department of Public Safety at Coastal Carolina University has new uniforms that provide dual benefits of comfort and professionalism while ensuring safety.

Same CCU public safety officers, brand new look

by Caroline P. Rohr
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Coastal Carolina University Public Safety Lt. David Klauder is proof that persistence pays off.

After about a year of research, planning and convincing on his part, all 45 police officers within the Department of Public Safety are sporting new uniforms that add comfort and professionalism to their appearance while not skimping on safety.

The new uniforms are called Armorskin and are made by Blauer, a company that specializes in tactical clothing and equipment. It was when interacting with a Conway police officer that Klauder noticed the uniform and the benefits it offered.

“I saw an officer wearing it and did some research,” Klauder said. “I was looking for ways we could be more comfortable in the summertime but also find a uniform that shows more professionalism.”

The Department of Public Safety at CCU is a hybrid department, comprised of security officers and Class I police officers, and the previous uniforms for the police officers—polo shirts with embroidered patches worn over their vests—at times led to misunderstanding when they responded to calls.

“We get mistaken for security guards when going to a call or making contact with the public, and they think we don't have the power to handle the situation,” Klauder said. “With the Armorskin, our badge and nameplate are on the outside, so we communicate immediately who we are and that we can handle the situation.”

The relief the uniforms offer from the heat is a popular feature.

“I love it,” said Inv. Daniel Todd. “The comfort is great and it makes a big difference when we are out answering calls.”

The difference between the Armorskin and the polos is the way the Armorskin is built to carry the bulletproof safety vest. With the polos, officers wore an undershirt with the vest over top, and then the polo on the outside. During 12-hour shifts in the southern heat, officers would be drenched in sweat by the time they got to the office, but had no way to find relief unless they changed their entire uniform.

Now, with the Armorskin, when officers are in the Public Safety building for administrative work, they have the option of taking the vest carrier off using built-in zippers on the side. The base shirt underneath the Armorskin has the department patch on the sleeve and is made of moisture-wicking material. Then, if the officers have to go out on a call, it only takes a few seconds to put the vest carrier back on, similar to the process of putting on a life jacket.

Since the vest is the part of the uniform that displays their name badge and police badge, officers don’t have the option not to wear it, Klauder said, which enhances their safety.

Klauder was committed to upgrading the department’s uniforms. He worked for almost a year to get approval for them, doing research and putting together a cost analysis. Chief David Roper, director of Public Safety, said Klauder showed determination, and he knew other officers wanted the new uniforms, as well.

“They all thought they looked more professional,” Roper said. “Some of the other area police departments moved to them, so we followed suit, making some adjustments in our uniform budget to make it work.”

Klauder knew he had to be persistent on his request, and he followed through to the end, driving to Columbia himself to pick up the uniforms.

“We wanted to save on shipping, but I also wanted to get them here so we could start wearing them,” he said.

New uniforms doesn't mean the old ones get tossed. Klauder and Roper both said the former polos the officers used to wear are perfect for off-duty training exercises or practicing on the shooting range for recertifications.

“For identification purposes during any type of extra duty outside of police work, the polos are perfect,” Klauder said.

And it looks like the new uniforms are a perfect fit.

 

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