After 13 years in Campus Police at UMMC, Marcus Blanton was ready for a change.
Not in careers, mind you – he’s perfectly content as a Campus Police officer – but in attire. He and his colleagues-in-arms lobbied successfully for a makeover, one that Capt. Michael Stamps was able to deliver Oct. 14.
The past week has seen a welcome uniform conversion, according to Blanton.
“Virtually everyone I have met has had positive comments,” he said of the new polyester-blend shirts. “Not only does it look professional, it looks comfortable.”
That was Stamps’ intent when he gave the go-ahead to modify his department’s traditional Class A design. The new lighter-gray shirts sport the word “police” in bold, dark blue lettering, with the officer’s rank embroidered on the side of each sleeve and the right side of the chest, underneath an artful badge emblem.
“The officers themselves came up with the idea,” Stamps said. “They felt it would lift their morale by making them more comfortable and distinctive.
“The shirt gives a real smooth look and the bold appearance enhances the police department’s professional image.”
The traditional uniform is still used by the department – security personnel wear them, and all officers will don them for special events and dress occasions. But the more comfortable attire will become the new standard on campus.
“We’ve gotten an excellent response from staff, visitors and the officers themselves,” Stamps said. “They’re so excited we’ve transitioned to this new shirt, identifying our officers will be easier to do.”
The Campus Police makeover isn’t limited to the officers – within the next few weeks, the department’s fleet of six police cars will be getting bolder graphics, including straight-line blue stripes and bigger logos that are more reflective in low light.
“We want to be more visible to the public, more identifiable as UMMC Campus Police, when we arrive on the scene,” Stamps said. “When you see the car, we want you to know it’s us.
“We felt there was a need for a safer approach.”
Captain Altus McFarland, who leads the department with Stamps, had similar sentiments.
"The new uniforms and vehicle markings will improve morale as well as maintain a professional look to the department," he said.
Stamps said the visual enhancement of Campus Police – officers and vehicles alike – is part of the department’s effort to promote its services. According to Blanton, it’s paying dividends already.
“When you’re in a crowd, people instantly know who you are,” Blanton said. “People can pick you out if they need assistance.
“You’re immediately recognizable.”