Thursday, June 21, 2007

New trousers please !

City police are looking for a few good pairs of pants. The Baltimore Police Department has run out of two popular sizes of the custom-made navy blue uniform pants it provides to every officer, a department spokesman said Wednesday.

Officers who wear size 36 or 38 will have to wait for new pants until a special order comes through.

"We are officially out," said Officer Troy Harris, a police spokesman. "We're putting in an emergency order for those two sizes."

One officer said he was recently turned away from the office of the quartermaster, who is in charge of supplies, when he requested a new pair of size-36 uniform pants. The officer spoke to The (Baltimore) Sun on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the issue.

"When you go to get pants, they look at you as if you're asking for a newborn," he said. "Pants are a hot commodity. When I asked for pants they just laughed."

Out of desperation, the officer said he took an old pair of pants to his tailor. Harris said the supply unit will take care of adjustments, but the officer said he couldn't afford to wait weeks for his pants to be mended.

The department attributed the shortage to the recent hiring of 240 new officers. But city police union president Paul Blair blamed a new initiative that requires plainclothes detectives to walk periodic foot patrols in uniform.

Cadets receive four pairs of pants when they leave the police academy. When officers need a new pair, they get them free but are required to turn in their old ones.

"If (the pants) can be saved, they'll be cleaned and put back into rotation," Harris said

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