The community will likely see some Mt. Juliet police officers wearing a different style of uniform.

The department plans to test a modern approach to a police uniform, and one that has greater advantages and options that cannot be ignored, according to Mt. Juliet police Capt. Tyler Chandler. The uniform transitions an officer’s ballistic vest to the outside of his or her shirt and is load bearing, which will give relief to the waist because the equipment will be attached to the vest, Chandler said.

“Traditional, heavier duty belts typically lead to back injuries after many years of service. In a recent [University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire] research study, it was determined that officers who carry their equipment on vests rather than duty belts experience much less hip and back pain,” Chandler said. “This style of uniform will also provide better relief from hot temperatures in the summer, better identification of officers, and officers will be able to carry additional life-saving equipment such as tourniquets and bleeding-control products.”

“Our officers’ health and wellbeing are so important, and we have reviewed research that load-bearing vests are a safe and healthier alternative to the outdated, traditional uniform. It is research we cannot ignore,” said Chief James Hambrick. “During the test phase, the department’s goal is to make sure that transitioning to the load-bearing vests is the right step to take for our officers and community.”