Georgia Deputy Forced to Hang Up his Cowboy Hat

To some professional the uniform makes the man, and if you take that away from them then they would rather quit altogether.

That is why when the new sheriff of a Wyoming county, Sublette County Sheriff Stephen Haskell, banned his deputies from wearing cowboy hats and cowboy boots, one man decided the change was too much for him.

The newly appointed sheriff is requiring his new deputies to wear a new dress code, which includes; black trousers, a tan shirt, black boots and a black ball cap. Haskell says the change is because they are safer and part of a move to make the police department a uniformity.

“I’m very much for the Western way of life and the look. And that’s the way I dress. However, for a professional outfit … I like everybody to look the same. We are one team unified in one purpose. That is to do our job,” states Haskell to the Casper Star-Tribune.

While Haskell is trying to reinvent the image of the Wyoming County, Gene Bryson, a deputy in the department, retired because of the new policy change.

Bryson told the newspaper that “the uniform is kind of the reason why I retired. I am not going to change. I’ve been here for 40-odd years in the sheriff’s office, and I’m not going to go out and buy combat boots and throw my vest and hat away and say, `This is the new me.’ ”

Bryson’s old uniform consisted of a brown cowboy hat, brown cowboy boots, and a leather vest for the summer and a wool vest for the winter’s cold.

Bryson has been serving in the police since 1974 and claims, “I’ve had a cowboy hat on since 19 — I don’t know. That’s what looks good to me in the sheriff’s department. It’s Western. It’s Wyoming.”

The uniform truly played a major part for the retire deputy, and taking that away was taking away part of his youth and his identity.

Photo/Sublette County Sheriff’s Office, Sgt. Katherine A. Peterson


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