Hot and Bothered: New Dress Code Chaps Capitol Police

Complaints about comfort and safety

Capitol Police are unhappy about a new management decision banning shorts on officers assigned to the Capitol.

The new restriction affects only officers working at the Capitol. Officers on patrol, bicycle duty, or guard duty at office buildings and the Library of Congress are still allowed to wear shorts, according to a report in Roll Call.

 With record high temperatures recorded in the city even before the official start of summer, officers say the new restriction affects their comfort as well as their safety.

"When the weather starts getting too bad, if the management doesn't work with the officers, they start getting sick from the heat," Capitol Police union Chairman Jim Konczos told Roll Call. "The argument management gives us is they give these guys good breaks. But believe me, you go and stand up there on the Upper West Terrace ... I don't care how long you go in the air conditioning, you're basically melting when you go inside."

Capitol Police spokeswoman Kimberly Schneider refused to comment on why the decision was put in place, stating in an e-mail to Roll Call, "Uniforms and equipment are designed and assigned based upon the operational needs of the Department.”

But union representatives told Roll Call that Inspector Donald Roullier, who oversees the department’s Capitol Division, made the decision based on appearances – particularly the fact that officers in short pants do not look good carrying large automatic rifles.

 "They want it to be more professional-looking attire," Konczos told Roll Call. "What they're saying is because it's the Capitol Division, you have to look better than everyone else, but you look across the street and you'll see the guys on the House Division and Senate Division in shorts."

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