In showbiz, image is everything.
So it’s no wonder that so many parties are still dickering over what retired cops can wear — and more importantly, not wear — when they do location work on Hollywood’s film and TV productions.
Back in June, the Los Angeles Police Dept. announced plans to forbid officers from wearing their real uniforms while doing such work. The issue has been much debated since then, with the LAPD insisting it has the authority to make the change without the L.A. City Council’s blessing and the council’s public safety committee now slated to weigh in at a July 27 hearing.
Cops have been sent notices warning them that the new restrictions will be implemented in October, but the issue’s been percolating for many months and remains a point of contention.
Central to the wardrobe woes are the LAPD’s concerns over legal liability and not wanting Angelenos to believe that active officers are staffing shoots when that’s not the case.
But for cops, as in Hollywood, looking the part is a major factor in playing the part.
The officers contend that the new outfits — which would differ significantly from standard LAPD dark-blue issue, featuring white shirts with “Film Detail” patches, black pants and luminescent vests, with no badges — will render them ineffective when it comes to controlling access and maintaining order.
They say it’ll also increase the costs of shooting in L.A., as filmmakers would feel obligated to use a more expensive off-duty officer.
L.A. City Councilman Greig Smith agrees with those concerns.
“If a guy looks like a security guard, drivers aren’t going to pay any attention to him,” he says. “And the retired officers know what they’re doing on sets and are going to be much more reliable than the off-duty officers.”
And for cops, it seems, typecasting is a good thing.