Bike Cop Boot Advising Again

At the invitation of a county sheriff with whom I spoke at a recent conference I attended for my work, I was invited to meeting in a nearby state where discussions were held regarding new uniforms for a law enforcement force that will emerge from when the city and the county merge into a unified government. This will likely happen when approval is granted by the voters in November.

There is a lot to do in order to combine the city police department and the county sheriff’s office. Least of which is specifying a new uniform. They decided to go with totally different uniform colors and do away with the “old” uniforms in the “old” colors. The new uniform will be dark blue with yellow side stripes on the legs.

While they were at it, the motor units from both forces were considering specifics regarding the boots they will wear. Right now, the sheriff’s department wears only Dehners. The city’s police force wear any boot that is tall and black. A few have Dehners, some have Dehner look-alikes, and a few wear Chippewa Hi-Shine Engineer Boots.

I blogged about bike cop boot advising before, and the same types of questions and discussions arose.

What was interesting, though these men wouldn’t really admit it, is that they were more concerned about appearance than they were about cost or comfort. While it is likely they would get a generous uniform allowance the first year the forces combine, it is not likely the uniform allowance would remain nearly as high in future years. That means, then, that Dehner boots would be difficult to “require” because their cost is so excessive, especially for stock boots whose shafts are made of that plastic stuff called “Dehcord” that cracks, breaks, and wears poorly.

They were also looking at Intapol boots, and liked them. The style, zipper on the back of the shaft, and availability of different calf widths were selling points. However, they didn’t like the new soles on the Intapol boots, which are supposed to be a lug-style, but are more like a soft type of rubber.

We were supposed to look at the uniforms and boots yesterday, then the cops were going to set up a training course today and ride with various styles of boots on. However, due to predicted rain for today, they switched which day they did each task. Yesterday, the cops just put on various makes of boots and rode through a course of twists, turns, and stops on their police Harleys. They even let me try the course on my H-D Road King, while I was wearing my Chippewa Hi-Shine boots. I was successful, about which I was proud because this is the first time I have ridden the bike through such challenges since I bought my new bike at the end of May.

Anyway, they rode and rode and rode with Dehners, Intapols, and Chippewas — both the motor patrol style as well as the Engineer style. All the boots performed well, as reported verbally. The written reports gave preference to the Chippewa Hi-Shines for comfort, and to the Dehners for appearance. The Intapols were in between. Several cops noticed black marks on the pipes of their bikes left by the soft rubber sole on the new Intapol boots. Those who wore the Chippewa Motor Patrol boots said that the boots were hot and caused them to feel uncomfortable. (It was a very warm afternoon out there in the sun.)

This morning when they were modeling the uniforms with the boots, the stress cracks on the Dehners were very obvious. That caused some of the old-timers who wouldn’t consider any other type of boot to look again at alternatives. Since they didn’t like the sole of the Intapols, and those who wore the Chippewa Motor Patrol boots said that they didn’t like them because they got so hot, they looked again at the Chippewa Hi-Shines.

I talked about mine, why I like them, how comfortable they are to me, and demonstrated that the pair I had on were severals years old and have endured thousands of miles on my Harley. I also discussed what I had learned when working with a different motor outfit in May.

Now they want to talk among themselves and think. Several of the cops will wear their demo boots between now and September, when they will make a decision. A few of the cops are still hesitant about adopting Chippewa Hi-Shine boots because they have muscular legs and wanted to be able to get wider calf sizes, but unless you get a wide foot, you can’t get boots with a wide calf. Intapol offers different calf widths. Dehners can be made custom. They’re not sure just what they will select. But they don’t have to decide right away.

It was a great couple of days, and I appreciated having the opportunity to do this as part of my “real” job as well as continuing my personal avocation. And, as a double-blessing, I was able to avoid the rain for my long motorcycle ride home by routing myself differently from how I got there. I am glad I didn’t have to ride in the rain.