October 10, 2008
DOC'S POLICY ON UNIFORMS
By: George Coppolo Chief Attorney
You asked about the Department of Correction's (DOC) policy regarding the wearing of uniforms.
DOC Administrative Directive 2.13 establishes extensive requirements regarding the clothing worn by uniformed DOC custody officers while on duty, with separate provisions for specified support personnel.
Custody officers generally must wear their class B uniforms while on duty. There are specific provisions regarding uniform shirts, trousers, jackets, shoes, boots, and belts. The officers can wear uniform hats at their discretion. The directive specifies the appearance of insignia denoting rank and specific duties. For example, majors must wear a gold oak leaf and department hearing officers must wear the gold initials DHO on each side of the shirt collar. The directive prohibits wearing insignia, ornaments, and accessories not specifically authorized.
The directive has specific uniform requirements for (1) maintenance, prison industries, warehouse, and commissary employees; (2) correctional food service employees; and (3) health services employees. There is also a specific uniform for correctional emergency response team (CERT) members, that includes a jumpsuit and riot helmet, and DOC honor guard members.
Non-uniformed personnel must wear clothing that is in keeping with safety and security concerns. The directive generally bars wearing such things such as tee shirts, shorts, and exercise clothing, among other things.
All employees who have direct contact with prisoners are required to carry a universal precaution pouch, which includes latex gloves and a micro-shield to be used when performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitations (CPR). With the exception of certain union officials, no one can carry personal telecommunications equipment while on duty. Executive staff can display badges while on duty. All employees must carry DOC identification cards, which must be reissued every five years.
DOC's administrative directive mandates that custody officers wear the DOC Class B uniform all the time (it is in the military's battle dress uniform (BDU) style), except in certain instances. At certain functions, it prescribes the Class A uniform.
The Class B shirt must be navy blue, short sleeve, and BDU-style. The pants must be navy blue and BDU-style. The hat is a Navy blue cap with insignia, and the all weather hat is a navy blue storm trooper cap. Finally, the sweater is a navy blue turtleneck sweater with DOC embroidery.
The directive also specifies that department provide and each custody officer have the following:
1. a universal precaution pouch, which is a black cordura pouch the officer wears on his or her belt. The pouch must contain a pair of disposable latex gloves and a CPR micro-shield.
2. a DOC shoulder patch (one per shirt and jacket), that is circular, four inches in diameter, with gold embroidery, dark blue for a jacket and Class B shirt, and light blue for a Class A shirt. The patch must be worn one inch from the top of the left shoulder seam.
3. a DOC authorized eagle style badge. It must be silver colored with blue shirts and gold colored with white shirts. (Officers must wear the badge above the left shirt jacket pocket on the Class A shirt.)
4. a name tag on the Class B shirt that is embroidered and silver colored for blue shirts and gold colored for white shirts and must include the rank spelled out as the employee's first initial and last name.
5. a name tag on the Class A shirt or jacket that is metal with black block lettering ½" x 3" that must be worn directly above the right pocket.
The directive specifies that DOC may issue, as necessary, handcuffs, body alarms, keys, flashlights, category I chemical agents, radios, and appropriate holders. These items are worn on the belt.
The directive mandates that custody officers wear Class A uniforms (dress uniforms) at departmental functions, ceremonies, or at the direction of a custody supervisor or higher authority (click the following link for a description of the dress uniform and other uniform information: http://www.ct.gov/doc/LIB/doc/PDF/AD/ad0213.pdf).
It further directs that:
1. a class A shirt must have a light blue DOC shoulder patch, name tag, badge, and insignia of rank (if applicable);
2. a custody officer must wear pants with a belt and issued belt-worn equipment and supplies;
3. the jacket be a navy blue police style uniform jacket with zip-out lining, reinforced holes on the left side for a badge, zipper front and partial zip-up sides, detachable poly collar, two side pockets, and two pocket front pocket flaps with a gold button on each flap;
4. officers must wear department-approved solid black leather type shoes or boots with black socks but allows special shoes or socks when job or medically required (it explicitly prohibits sneakers);
5. DOC will issue a hat at the officer's request that officers may wear at their discretion (the officer must wear the hat with the brim squarely facing forward – additionally, DOC will make storm trooper caps available for an outside post during inclement weather);
6. any visible tee shirt must be white;
7. all uniforms and allotments must meet certain specifications and it prohibits any insignia, ornament, or accessory other than provided for in the directive; and
8. each facility must provide coveralls for special assignments that require protective clothing.
Under the directive, insignias denoting rank must be as follows, a:
1. major's is a gold oak leaf, which is positioned on each side of the collar with the base pointing down;
2. captain's is double gold bars, which must be positioned on each side of the collar, parallel with the front edge of the collar;
3. lieutenant's is a single gold bar, which must be positioned on each side of the collar, parallel with the front edge of the collar;
4. uniformed correctional training officer must wear the silver initials CTO, which must be positioned on and parallel with the front edge of the collar;
5. uniformed training officer must wear the gold initials TO, which must be positioned on and parallel with the front edge of the collar; and
6. department hearing officer must wear the gold initials DHO, which must be positioned on each side of the shirt collar, parallel with the front edge of the collar.
For these insignia, the directive requires the markings on Class B shirts to be soft (i.e., cloth). Solid insignia come in two sets, one for the Class A shirt and one larger set for the jacket.
CORRECTION EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM (CERT)
The CERT uniform consists of:
1. a jumpsuit that is black with a zipper front and belt loops,
2. a riot helmet that is black with a clear visor,
3. military style boots that are black with black laces,
4. a 1½” in width black web belt that includes a silver belt buckle,
5. a DOC shoulder patch that is blue with gold embroidery and worn one inch from the top of the left shoulder seam, and
6. a statewide CERT patch that is black with gold embroidery to be worn one inch from the top of the right shoulder seam.
DOC MAINTENANCE, INDUSTRIES, WAREHOUSE, AND COMMISSARY EMPLOYEES
Maintenance, prison industries, warehouse, and commissary employees must wear the following:
1. gray short sleeve shirts;
2. gray trousers;
3. a plain belt that is black leather 1½ inch wide with silver colored buckle;
4. a shoulder patch that is round dark blue with gold embroidering and worn one inch from the top of the left shoulder seam;
5. a name tag that is navy blue with white lettering ½" x 3" and centered directly above the right shirt pocket, which must include the employee's title, first initial, and last name;
6. a waist length navy blue jacket with zip-in liner and dark blue shoulder patch, when seasonable; and
7. the DOC authorized badge, which must be an eagle style badge that is silver colored.
They must also have the universal precaution pouch and black shoes or military style black boots.
CORRECTIONAL FOOD SERVICE EMPLOYEES
Correctional food service employees must have similar items as the other uniformed support personnel above (e.g., the universal precaution pouch, silver DOC badge, and black shoes). However, their shirts are white and must have flap packets with an opening for writing instruments, reinforced holes for a badge, epaulets, and reinforced area for a name tag.
HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYEES
In conjunction with the University of Connecticut Health Services, DOC must provide direct hands-on care health services employees with scrubs and laboratory coats as appropriate. All direct care health services employees must wear a name tag.
The directive also requires:
1. the scrubs to be navy blue with a round neck;
2. laboratory coats to be white and short or long sleeve;
3. laboratory coats with a navy blue patch with gold embroidery worn one inch from the top of the left shoulder seam;
4. the name tag to be navy blue with white lettering ½" x 3" to be centered directly above right shirt pocket and include the employee's title, first initial, and last name; and
5. the badge to be the silver DOC eagle style badge.
Attire for non-uniformed personnel must be “in keeping with safety and security concerns.” The directive prohibits these employees from wearing “provocative, suggestive or exercise attire, shorts, tee shirts, ragged or torn clothing, or rubber shower/beach tongs.” It allows exceptions, approved by the unit administrator, as it applies to a specific job classification or in order to perform specific duties. A non-uniformed employee assigned to an administrative office must wear professional attire, except as authorized by a unit administrator or higher authority.