February 4, 2015
To recap, I was coming back from LA on Monday when I got a call from Stuart Rosebrook, our book editor, saying a reporter for National Public Radio was doing a piece on a sheriff in Wyoming who is banning cowboy boots and hats. We were contacted because True West named Pinedale, Wyoming a Top Ten Western Town. So I called them and told the reporter what I thought about the banning of cowboy hats and boots:
Late yesterday, the story was picked up by the Associated Press and now the story has multiplied into hundreds of articles, even in the UK. It has sparked some spirited conversation, both here and on our Facebook pages. Here are a few of the choice comments:
"Well, I can, sort of, see the Sheriff's point - having his deputy's in a 'uniform' so they are easily recognizable by citizens who may be wary of imposters and such. But this speaks to me more of wanting to move to the "tactical" type of Police Uniforms that get us folks upset with the apparent militarization of our civilian police forces. Big Hats and Cowboy Boots - not to mention Cowboy-style shirts would certainly make these law enforcement folks more approachable to the public - at least in my opinion.
Surely the Sheriff could settle on a uniform that was similar, same style of hats, shirts, boots, etc. that would also allow for some individual expression. I like my local LEO's a lot more friendly than folks all tricked out in tactical gear and such."
"Hell, when I was a Texas Ranger we shot their legs or lassoed ‘em, Damn, what the hell is this country coming to?"
—Al Tibbitts Chase
"I was a police officer for 14 years and never chased anybody on foot."
"Dammed yank wagon must be a fart blossom!!!"
—Geronimo M. Perez
"W.T.F. ,???? I wear my boots and hat EVERY day , and I live in friggin' Belgium in Europe .... Keep on wearing them guys !!!! Show the spirit ....!!!!!"
—Peter Van Echelpoel
"And little by little it's all getting takin away everywhere with everything."
"Lederhosen are the answer. Take away sirens and make them yodel too."
"As part of the Arizona Rangers, I worked a security duty for the Super Bowl. Black uniform, black cowboy boots, and black Stetson. Never have I had this experience before. People from everywhere, especially the foreigners wanted to get pictures taken with us. No matter what anyone thinks, the world still believes in and loves cowboys."
"I was a deputy in Nebraska and I wore boots. One night, on ice and snow packed sidewalks, I ran down a teenage girl that had committed a crime, while she was wearing regular shoes. Don't tell me boots can't do the job!"
"Obviously Mr Watson [a disgruntled reader who heard me on NPR and complained about me not getting my facts straight] has never been in Texas. Our Texas Highway Patrol officers are issued Justin ropers, and cowboy hats. I have worn either Justin cowboy boots or Justin lace up ropers for the 18 years I've been in law enforcement, and for the of those years I had beget not have gotten caught outta my patrol car without my cowboy hat on."
"As the sheriff, he has a responsibility to provide the best service possible for the citizens in his jurisdiction. As he stated, there needs to be a uniform standard for his deputies and the boots and hats aren't the best choice for work in the field. While I can respect Bob Boze Bell's decry of cultural loss, I can also point out that the deputies aren't mounted on horseback either."
"That happened in my county in NM, had to go to tactical boots and ball caps."
"I live near Gene, he lives in Marbleton, WY next to his gun shop. The Sheriff's office is headquartered in Pinedale. He's a hell of a guy and I am in his corner on this. I wear my cowboy hat year around. Yes, I have had to chase is down once because of the wind, but it 'does' keep my 'noggin' warm, contrary to what Haskell says."
—Jeff T. Jackelen
"Texas State Highway Patrol wear like uniforms, boots, but still wear the (all same style) western hat. Wyoming could keep the hat and have a uniform all alike."
—Donnie Carol Hinderliter
"I don't think I could trust a Law Enforcement Officer in Wyoming that WASN'T wearing cowboy boots!"
"Anyone who thinks that a person wearing traditional cowboy boots is as steady on his/her feet as in more service designed footwear has obviously never tried to do very much strenuous activity on foot in them. Boots were designed for riding horses."
Of course, in today's climate you cannot talk about anything, without the illiterate haters coming out in full force:
"He must be a damn oboma loving Muslim."