City of Salem’s parking enforcement officers have begun to sport a new uniform in recent months; navy blue shirts and tundra pants. When asked about it, a parking enforcer told Salem Weekly that the change was to make parking staff look less like police officers, to protect them against some possible hostility seen currently towards law enforcement in the country.
But the reason was one of practicality, says Sheri Wahrgren, Downtown Revitalization Manager in the Urban Development Department for the City of Salem. “The company that the City contracts with for uniforms has a limited number of color choices,” to begin with. Then, consideration must be given the uniform colors being used by other City Departments, “and the ability to differentiate parking enforcement officers who not only enforce parking regulations, but also act as ambassadors in downtown.”
Uniform and equipment needs are routinely reviewed as part as City budget processes. In the most recent round, “based on the condition, and useful life of the former uniforms, a review of uniform options were considered,” Warghren says. “The style type was based on needs and input of staff who can walk from 11-14 miles per day in all types of weather.”
The style of uniform used previously, required the City to place a special custom order each time a new enforcement officer was hired.
“The new style is not customized to an officer,” Warghren says, “and can be washed and easily re-issued to other staff.
The City says that parking staff have received positive comments from the public in regard to how they like the new look, which is professional, but friendly.