GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – In a world of body cameras, smartphones and other high-tech gadgetry, the newest piece of equipment for officers with the Grand Prairie Police Department is something simple, rooted in Texas tradition. The agency is adding a cowboy hat to their standard uniform.
To be more specific, the department’s budget includes money for American Hat Co.’s 7104 style with fancy vent and four-inch brim. In a statement, the Grand Prairie Police Department said, “We feel this choice is the most professional look and the best choice for our agency.”
The idea came up during a department committee meeting. Chief Steve Dye is from West Texas, and is personally fond of the western culture. He loved the thought of Grand Prairie’s officers wearing something that both represents the western heritage of the department and offers functional benefits for those out in the field.
“The safety of our officers is paramount,” the police statement said. During the summer months, cowboy hats offer protection from the punishing Texas sun. In the winter, the hats provide some warmth. And the hats are waterproof to help keep officers dry during times of rain or snow.
Wearing a cowboy hat is not mandatory for Grand Prairie Police Department officers, and only about 30 to 40 of the agency’s 270 men and women have gotten a new hat. But demand is so high that The Best Hat Store in Fort Worth has sold out of the selected style and has ordered more to accomodate the department’s requests.
The Grand Prairie Police Department hosts an annual Cowboy Cops Rodeo event at the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, to benefit Special Olympics. They hope to have most of their officers wearing a cowboy hat when the two-day event begins this September.