State Police switch to 1920s-era hats for anniversary
Oak Park — Area motorists may be doing double-takes when encountering Michigan State Police troopers.
Troopers on Thursday began turning out for duty in new campaign-style hats in honor of their 100th anniversary, according to state police spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw.
There have been 1,782 of the black straw hats issued to troopers across Michigan which began its state police in 1917, Shaw said.
“These are a little different than what we have been wearing for years,” said Shaw.
Shaw said the new hats were approved by a vote of more than 80 percent of the state police’s rank and file. Troopers were allowed to make the decision on whether to begin using the hats, which are used by state police agencies across the nation — except in Michigan and five other states. The prior decision not to wear the hats was just a matter of choice for trooper uniforms that became a tradition for decades.
“State police in some states, like Texas, wear Stetsons,” said Shaw, who added the new hats are cheaper than those currently worn by Michigan troopers.
The straw hats carry a $64.50 price tag, compared to the $73.40 cost of the previous hats. State police have committed $115,000 to the new hats, Shaw said.
“This is for 2017 and at the end of the year it will be reviewed to determine if we continue to wear these hats or go back to the old ones,” he said.
Shaw said old hats are regularly retired when they become too old or worn out. Troopers are permitted to keep their old hats, he said.