Aberdeen police found 'guilty' of great fashion taste

If clothes make the man (or woman), consider the Aberdeen Police Department extremely well-made.

The department's men and women recently won an award not for their crime-fighting or patrolling skills, but for the professional tailoring of their uniforms.

The North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers named Aberdeen the Best Dressed Public Safety Department, among those with fewer than 200 officers, for 2013.

Chief Henry Trabert accepted the award during a ceremony last month at Sea World in Orlando, Fla.

A ratty-looking officer might not garner as much respect as one who looks more put together, Trabert pointed out.

"If you see a guy who is looking sharp and professional, it gives you, the victim, a little more confidence," he said. "Sometimes it gives you the ability to have a successful outcome of whatever the situation is."

That look got quite a national spotlight last summer, when Vi Ripken, an Aberdeen resident and mother of baseball Hall of Fame member Cal Ripken Jr., was abducted from her Aberdeen home and returned safely the next morning. That investigation is continuing.

With uniforms individually tailored to each officer by Red the Uniform Tailor, of New Jersey, Trabert said his organization has put thought into its wardrobe over the years.

"We did little things to it to make it better-looking, more professional," he said. "It really does make a difference."

The department's uniform has changed over the past 20 years, shifting to its current grayish-and-black color scheme, with black three-piece suits as an option.

The agency also has stricter requirements now for officers going through inspection during roll call.

"The goal was to present a professional-looking police department to the public," Trabert said. "We just feel first impressions are the best."

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