Phrases like, “is it legal to wear a cop uniform on Halloween?” are pouring in lately from search engine to this blog. I understand why. When I posted “You Want To Wear A Cop Uniform on Halloween?” on this blog last year, that post continues to draw a lot of visitors with questions like that.
Visit that post or check out the complete instructions on how to assemble a uniform on my website if you want to know how to assemble a cop costume for Halloween. I also address the issue about whether it is legal to do so, but I’ll repeat that info here for convenience.
Yes… it is legal to assemble and wear a cop uniform (if you’re not a cop) with some provisos:
1. Don’t wear the uniform representing an agency that has jurisdiction where you are. For example, if you want to wear a California Highway Patrol (CHP) motor officer uniform, don’t wear it in the State of California. That’s illegal as noted in California state law. I live in a county in Maryland. I would not wear a uniform that looks like the same uniform my county officers wear. Even if I do not wear the insignia of my local police department — it’s “too close for comfort” and technically, while it’s not illegal to wear a uniform of the same color and appearance as a local PD as long as it doesn’t have that PD’s insignia on it, the “second rule” of making a choice to wear a uniform comes into play.
2. That “second rule” is a question: “could a real cop think I am trying to impersonate an officer?” Impersonation of an officer is a civil crime, punishable by fines and/or a jail sentence.
You can wear a replica police officer uniform as a costume. Just don’t go around acting like a cop. Impersonation is measured both by what you are wearing, but also by what you do — how you act and behave. Do not try to pull someone over, write a citation (a ticket), handcuff someone in public, or do other things that you see actors-as-cops on TV do.
If you keep the uniform appearance to look like a uniform that is not worn by real cops in your area (town, city, county, or state), and if you keep the cop-acting behavior behind closed doors, then you will be okay — and probably have a lot of fun, too!
Straight guys as well as gay guys like to wear a uniform — and Halloween is a fun “excuse” to wear one. Just be cool, and think before you act. It is dumb actions that get you in trouble. Don’t be stupid — like wear a uniform that has the same insignia of your local or state cops, or carry a gun, billy club, baton, or other weapon, and don’t say foolish things (like you might hear on some TV shows) and you’ll be fine.
Life is short: have fun, but be safe, sane, and sensible.
DISCLAIMER: All the information and photos contained in this post are provided solely for the benefit of those who wish to assemble and wear a replica cop costume. In no way is it intended for use in any attempt to impersonate any law enforcement officer.