MIDDLEBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT, VIRGINIA
Sir, as we discussed at the onset of this venture, your company wanted honest and direct feedback. To that end, please note the following observations regarding the jackets supplied to the Middleburg Police Department.
Attractiveness of the garments:
Our staff, residents, and business owners believe the design, although not typical for a police department, presented a professional look for the officers. The two layer option allowed for various looks under the umbrella of the one uniform. In short, design wise, it was well received.
I would compare the fit and comfort level to be similar to one of my North Face jackets. It is a much closer or tighter fit than the typical police jacket. Because of the comfort it can be worn in the various configurations throughout the shift. There is really not a need to put it on and take it off several times a day.
Quality of the garment:
Middleburg is known as a shopping destination. Among the various unique stores there are a number of "high end" clothing stores. I brought the jacket to one of the most respected in the field. He studied the jacket, the density of the fabric, the quality seam work, and the overall feel. His conclusion was that the jacket is very well made. The following quote sums it up best: "this is a well-made jacket. I have dealt in clothing and particularly water proof garments for years. You rarely find something in this price range made this well." He went on to point out all the seams have been sealed to include the patch that was attached post manufacture. Can this jacket combination replace the old duty jacket? Yes and no. I found that during extended exposure to the cold, 45 minutes or more, I started to get cold. However, for the majority of uses it will be great. The poor officer stuck on an outdoor foot patrol throughout the night, well, they may have an issue. For the typical patrol officer who gets in and out of his/her car, this is great!
Being that we received some of the first run product, we asked for various custom items to test as many components as we could. The mic tab is functional but may better serve the uniform if it were more aesthetically pleasing. Possibly use a design that is similar to the tabs on a uniform shirt. This would allow for rank insignia to be attached. Lined pockets were a plus for me and most of the staff. The lining was secured in such a manner as to prevent it from turning inside out. It proved to be a nice addition during cold weather as I rarely wear gloves. The lining provided a needed respite from the cold. Although not unanimous as far as a like, it is a great option to offer for those who would like it. Path attachment at the production plant allowed for the aforementioned sealing of the seams. To provide true water proofing one cannot have holes in the dyke.
One of the features I found that I liked was the close fitting design. Having been an officer survival lead instructor for about ten years. I like to think tactically. This jacket allows for easy access to all the equipment on the duty belt. On the other hand it will undoubtedly cause sizing issues. It did in my department. Two of my staff cannot wear the jackets comfortably because the size they typically order proved to be too small with the closer fit of your product. It may prove to your advantage to stress the sizing differences and possibly include a chart for conversion. Whereas large may translate to and XL in your jacket. I am a big guy around 240 lbs and I wear an XL that provides some extra room. In your jacket I chose the same size. It fits well and close but not tight. The extra room is not there. That in itself isn't a bad thing, but for the officer who typically wears a snug XL he/she may need to be encouraged to move to the XXL. We are pleased with the overall performance of the jackets. I believe you have a product that can change the face of policing. Your continued collection of field data will serve to better the end product. Thank you for taking an interest in our security and comfort.