MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis’ Special Weapons and Tactics team is changing its look to address concerns that the city’s police department is militarized agency.
“We’ve heard comments both locally here this past fall with some of the protests we’ve had up at the Fourth Precinct,” Cmdr. Scott Gerlicher said. “Some of the comments are the militarized look of the police.”
Now the department is getting rid of the military greens and going with a navy blue or black color. The green uniforms have been used for decades by Minneapolis SWAT officers.
“In Minneapolis, the color has been in place for at least 25 years,” Gerlicher said. “Really, if you look around nationally, there is a mixture of military and camouflaged colored SWAT uniforms as well as the dark navy blue or black. Some of the larger cities like Los Angeles, the New York City Police Department, they’ve been using the navy blue and black colors for quite some time.”
The commander says the goal of the change is to alter the public’s perception. They don’t want residents seeing the police as a military force.
Along with the change in color to the uniforms, there will also be a change in color to the armored vehicles.
“That’s in the process of being painted from a military green to a black vehicle,” Gerlicher said.
The police department says people will start noticing the change over the next several months and other equipment will be transitioned as it is replaced through its normal lifecycle, which could take 2 to 3 years.