SAN ANTONIO -- Wearing a brand new Stetson hat, Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau reinstated an optional western hat policy for deputies.
The western hat was banned in the 1990s as part of a new uniform policy.
Pamerleau made the announcement after addressing Commissioners Court on Tuesday. She said the policy was effective immediately -- to the delight of many Texas-proud deputies on the force.
"I have heard from many deputies that they wanted the western hat to return," Pamerleau said in a press release. "They feel, and I agree, the hat distinguishes them from other police officers and allows citizens to quickly identify them as Sheriff's Deputies."
According to the press release:
- "The new policy allows deputies, who are so inclined, to wear specific western headgear with their standard, Class A uniform.
- "During winter months a traditional, felt construction, 'silver belly' gray hat can be worn.
- "During summer months, the traditional, natural color straw construction hat may be worn.
- "During inclement weather, form-fitting, clear plastic covers may be worn over the western headgear.
- "The Western hats with a flat brim, or hats with decorations, such as feathers, are not authorized as part of the policy.
- "Wearing the western headgear is not mandatory."
The new policy comes just a week before the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo; the rodeo runs Feb. 7 through Feb. 24.
"I think it's great and it will do a lot for morale," said Lt. Tom Roach, who has been with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office since 1985. "We are Texas Sheriff's Deputies, and the time-honored tradition of the western hat should be part of our uniform."
Pamerleau was sworn in as sheriff on Jan. 1, 2013.