We are having a lot of differences in philosophy department to department regarding how officers should look while on duty. Many departments have embraced outer vest carriers because they disperse weight more evenly over the shoulders versus having all of the weight on the hips and puts less pressure on the back. It allows us to carry more tools such as Tasers, pepper spray, radios, magazines, cuffs, medical kits, etc. without feeling a lot of the weight. We use molle type armor carriers so we can customize how we carry our equipment. All of my equipment, plus my soft body armor weighs roughly 25 pounds. Another benefit to wearing your gear on the vest is its a lot easier to take it off to go to the bathroom. It also allows us to wear BDU style pants and shirts that are much more flexible and are much easier to maintain. A drawback is that it looks a lot more "tactical" or "militarized" and people have made complaints that we always look like SWAT, which is more alarming to neighbors and can be embarrassing for someone to explain to people they know. I understand this. Other departments, such as Washington State Patrol, maintain that a professional uniform portrays an image of service over enforcement and is less threatening overall. Community members seem much less apprehensive when speaking to police when they are wearing a sharp, pressed uniform and don't look like "Rambo". There is a lot of cost associated with destroyed uniforms and cleaning/maintenance. They aren't as easy to move around in and many smaller officers don't have the real estate available on the duty belt to carry the same equipment. A shooting by SPD and the Ferguson shooting raised questions of why there weren't more less-lethal options available to the officer. One of the reason is there just isn't enough space to carry that stuff on your belt if you are thinner framed. There are other options such as outer vest carriers that are designed to look like the front of a uniform shirt, even with fake pockets and buttons that look like a standard shirt. They are as comfortable as the tactical vest but still require you to wear all of your gear on your belt. So, what do you all think? Would you rather have police dressed for function or do you want them to assert their authority through a professional uniform? Its much like the difference between military utility uniforms vs. Class B uniforms.