240 – Dress Code

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I. Purpose

This policy establishes dress code directives for Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) employees.

II. Policy

In order to merit and maintain the public’s trust, employees must maintain a professional dress code suited to their duty and assignment. Exceptions to this policy may be made by a supervisor as needed for a particular assignment.

Employees are only permitted to wear their HCSO uniform when on-duty, working authorized extra-employment, or when authorized by a supervisor.

No part of the uniform may be worn separately unless otherwise noted within this policy or with supervisor authorization. Employees issued a uniform must arrive for duty in full issued uniform. Personnel must not dress or undress in areas within public view (e.g., parking areas).

III. Personal Grooming

Employees must practice good personal hygiene, wear clean clothes, and keep accessories in acceptable condition. Employees must represent conservative and professional standards in all aspects of their appearance.

A. Hair

1. Hair must be a natural hair color.

2. Hair may not be worn in an unusual or extravagant manner, which would distract from the professional goal of the HCSO.

3. Prohibited styles include, but are not limited to, abnormal coloring or multi-coloring, carvings, ducktails, ponytails (for men), locs, mohawks, mullets, exaggerated raised or sculpted hair styles, variations of these styles, or any other similar styles.

4. Hair may not be worn in a manner that would prevent or interfere with the proper wearing of a respirator, riot helmet, or other issued headgear.

5. Barrettes, combs, or other items used to confine or ornament hair must closely approximate the color of the hair or the main color of the uniform shirt or pants.

6. Length Requirement for Men

Hair must not extend further than the top edge of the uniform shirt collar while holding the head erect. At the side, it must not extend further than one-third of the distance down from the top of the ear.

7. Length Requirement for Women

Hair must be neat and not of an excessively long length which would present an unprofessional appearance. If wearing a Class A, B, or C uniform, hair must not fall below the yoke line on the back of the shirt. Although hair may not be worn in an exaggerated style, it may be braided or pinned in order to comply with length requirements when wearing a uniform.

B. Facial Hair

Male personnel are permitted four options for facial hair:

1. Clean Shaven – No facial hair (Fig 1).

2. Mustache (See Fig 2).

a. Must be trimmed and not extend below the upper line of the upper lip.

b. If worn alone, may not extend below the corners of the mouth.

c. Extreme styles such as handlebar mustaches are prohibited.

3. Goatee – a mustache that extends down around the side of the mouth and joins hair on the chin, also referred to as a circle beard (Fig 3).

a. Must be worn with a mustache.

b. The cheeks, jaw line, and neck must remain clean shaven.

4. Natural Beard – also referred to as a full set (Fig 4).

a. Must be worn with a mustache.

b. Must cover the complete jaw line.

c. Cheeks must be shaved on and above the cheekbone.

d. The neck must be no more than one inch below the jaw line.

5. The following styles of facial hair are NOT permitted:

a. Chin Strap Beards – Beards that are trimmed to a thin line along the jaw.

b. Patchy Beards – Beards of uneven or patchy growth.

c. Stubble – Beards shorter than 1/16th of an inch.

6. Facial hair must conform to the following restrictions:

a. The bulk of the beard (distance that the mass of facial hair protrudes from the skin of the face must not exceed half an inch and be kept trimmed to a consistent length;

b. The beard will consist of a naturally-occurring hair color;

c. No designs may be shaved into facial hair;

d. Facial hair must be neatly sculpted and trimmed.

7. Supervisors must ensure employees conform to an approved style of facial hair.

NOTE: This policy recognizes that facial hair rate of growth may vary for different employees. As such, employees will be allowed a reasonable period of time for their facial hair to “grow in”.

C. Fingernails

Fingernails must be kept clean and neatly-trimmed.

1. Fingernails must be uniform in length and not be excessively long.

2. Uniformed female deputies or detention officers’ fingernails must be manicured to no more than one-quarter inch past the longest part of the nail bed.

3. Fingernails must not be covered with fluorescent, neon, gold, silver, or any metal-colored polish, or otherwise be flashily colored, designed, or ornamented.

4. Polish, if worn by males, must be either clear or colorless.

D. Earrings and Body Piercings

Earrings and body piercing jewelry that is exposed to public view is prohibited, with the exception of a single stud earring in each earlobe for females.

E. Makeup

Makeup is prohibited with the exception of natural, neutral tones used sparingly. No dark, metallic, or extreme-colored makeup is allowed. Eye makeup must be confined to the upper and lower eyelid.

1. The use of shiny or fluorescent eye shadow is prohibited.

2. Lipstick or lip gloss must be of light, natural colors.

3. The use of neon, bright, and other extreme shades of lipstick or lip gloss is prohibited.

4. Makeup may not be worn by male employees.

F. Jewelry

1. While on duty, employees must refrain from wearing excessive or gaudy jewelry.

2. Uniformed personnel must not wear necklaces that are exposed to view.

3. Uniformed personnel are permitted to wear identification or medical alert bracelets only.

4. Uniformed personnel may wear one watch and one ring per hand while on-duty.

NOTE: Political or other “freedom of expression” jewelry of any kind must not be visible to the public eye.

G. Glasses and Sunglasses

Eyewear must be conservative in color and style.

H. Body Art, Tattoos, Body Piercings, and Mutilation

1. Tattoos and other body art are prohibited if they are offensive, inappropriate, or present an unprofessional appearance. This includes, but is not limited to, those that are:

a. Racist,

b. Gang related,

c. Depicting hatred,

d. Sexually suggestive or explicit, or

e. Otherwise undermining the HCSO core values.

2. Having tattoos and other body art on the head, face, neck, and ears is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to:

a. Foreign objects inserted under the skin,

b. Pierced, split, or forked tongue, and

c. Stretched-out holes in the ears (gauges).

3. Tattoos on hands are not encouraged, but will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

4. Cosmetic tattooing and wedding band tattoos are allowed if it is within reason and does not present a gaudy appearance.

5. The use of gold, platinum, silver, or other veneer caps for the purposes of dental ornamentation is prohibited. Teeth, whether natural, capped, or veneered, must not be ornamented with designs, jewels, initials, or similar.

6. The Sheriff, or his or her designee, reserve the right to require any employee to cover a tattoo that is deemed unprofessional.

IV. Uniform Requirements

A. Employees will either be issued a set of uniforms or polo shirts, or have the option to wear plain clothing, depending on their assignment.

1. Deputies and detention personnel will be issued Class A and C uniforms.

2. Class B uniforms are issued to deputies and detention personnel whose positions may require or benefit from it, as determined by their supervisor or standard operating procedures (SOP).

3. Communications personnel will be issued polo shirts and pants.

4. Professional staff members, as well as deputies and detention officers assigned to office positions, may be issued polo shirts and are expected to dress in business casual. However, deputies and detention officers may also wear their Class A, B, or C per preference or as appropriate.

5. Female personnel in any position can request to switch to plain clothing during pregnancy.

6. Members of special units may be issued uniforms which are specific to their assignment, typically a variation of the Class C uniform (see Section X, Specialty Uniforms).

B. While wearing the uniform, the complete uniform described in this policy must be worn. The uniform may not be worn as separate pieces, and clothing which is not part of the uniform may not be worn with the uniform.

C. Pins, badges, nametags, buttons, and other uniform accessories will be silver for non-supervisory personnel and gold for supervisory personnel.

D. Any unauthorized or unnecessary alteration to county-issued uniforms will result in the employee purchasing each altered garment or uniform.

E. When Wearing Class A, B, or C Uniforms, Polo Shirts, Or Plain Clothes:

1. The cuffs of long-sleeved shirts will be buttoned and not rolled up.

2. Shirts will be worn with buttons buttoned and zippers zipped. When a shirt is worn without a tie, only the uppermost button will be left unbuttoned.

3. If an employee is required to wear issued pants (such as if wearing the Class A uniform), they cannot wear personally purchased pants unless those pants meet the same specifications (color, fabric, and quality) as the issued pants.

4. Hats must not interfere with the rest of the uniform or performance of duties. If a hat is approved by this policy, but would interfere with the rest of the uniform or performance of duties, wearing it becomes prohibited. Nothing should be added or affixed to the approved hats.

5. Except for deputies and detention officers, no HCSO shoulder patches, badges, or lettering are authorized to be worn on a polo, jacket, or other clothing. When worn, these must correspond to the position of the employee – i.e., a detention officer must have a detention officer patch.

F. Additionally, When Wearing A Class A, B, Or C Uniform:

1. Shirts must be tucked.

2. Socks must be black or navy.

3. Polished boots, black in color, must be worn.

4. White undershirts may be worn only if they are not visible.

5. Crew or V-neck undershirts may be visibly worn if they are navy or black.

6. Trousers must be regulation-issue only. They must not be altered in such a manner as to taper the leg tightly around the ankle or knee area (“leg pegging”).

7. The regulation-issue HCSO shoulder patch must be worn on both sleeves of each shirt, jacket, and approved windbreaker, centered half an inch under each epaulet.

8. TCOLE Master Proficiency Certification Chevron

Master proficiency means a deputy or detention officer has obtained the master peace officer proficiency or master jailer proficiency certificate respectively from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). A qualified deputy or detention officer is eligible to wear master proficiency chevrons regardless of their years of service with HCSO.

a. Chevrons indicating master proficiency may be worn on both sleeves of each uniform shirt, jacket, and approved windbreaker, centered half an inch under the HSCO patch for those qualified. [See Attachment B]

b. Proof of master proficiency certification must be presented to the Human Resources Division to verify qualification before an employee may be issued chevrons from Uniform Supply.

c. Supervisors are not eligible to wear the master proficiency certification chevrons. Supervisors may wear the metallic master certification pin under their metallic nametag.

NOTE: For Telecommunications Officers with master telecommunicator proficiency certification, see Section VII (B).

9. Rank Emblems and Insignia

a. Emblems and insignia must be regulation-issue.

b. Sergeants must have gold supervisor chevrons on both sleeves of each shirt, jacket, and approved windbreaker, centered half an inch under the HCSO patch.  Supervisor chevrons for sergeants and detention sergeants are the same. [See Attachment C]

c. The rank insignia of lieutenants and above must be worn on each shirt, jacket, and approved windbreaker, centered on the outward stitched section of each epaulet.

G. When Wearing a Class B or C Uniform:

1. For the Class C uniform, baseball caps may be worn. The approved ball cap must have an official mini HCSO patch sewn on the front of the cap, and displayed so it is clearly visible. The baseball style cap is not authorized with the Class B uniform.

2. The straw hat will be worn with the Class B uniform.

3. A wool or knit cap (employee purchase) may be worn during extreme cold weather conditions of 40 degrees and below.

a. Only an approved, solid black-colored cap may be worn.

b. An official, small HCSO patch must be sewn onto the front of the cap and visibly displayed.

4. Hats should not be worn in any circumstance where they would jeopardize or substantially interfere with the performance of duties.

5. Only a regulation-issue jacket, an approved windbreaker (employee purchase), or a soft-shell jacket (employee purchase) may be worn. The windbreaker must have shoulder seams that allow for proper placement of the HCSO shoulder patches and any appropriate rank designations (i.e., no raglan, French style, or drop shoulder sleeves).

a. Rank and HCSO patches for jackets and windbreakers will be the same as those for the regulation-issued long-sleeved shirt.

b. A cloth badge must be sewn onto the front left breast area.

c. An approved windbreaker may have “SHERIFF” printed in white or gold on the back for deputies and “DETENTION OFFICER” in white for detention officers.

d. Logos or emblems printed on the back, or lettering printed on the sleeves, is prohibited.

6. Uniformed deputies assigned to special duty status, such as Honor Guard, Motorcycle Unit, or firearms instructor, may wear approved emblems representing the duty status.

V. Class A

The Class A uniform is intended for formal occasions, such as award ceremonies, funerals, meetings, or other occasions where it is deemed appropriate by a supervisor. The Class A uniform is a long-sleeve shirt with S.O. collar insignia and metal shirt buttons, tie, regular uniform pants with gold piping, and may include a felt hat.

A. Employees issued an inner carrier can wear it beneath their Class A shirt. Outer carriers may not be worn with a Class A uniform.

B. Employees issued a felt hat can wear the hat with the Class A uniform.

1. The hat must not be altered or reshaped in any form other than as authorized by the dress code.

2. In inclement weather, the felt hat must be protected with a clear rain cover.

C. The Class A shirt must have a single “S.O.” pin worn on each side of the collar, 1.5 inches from the collar tip. The lower edge of the pin must be horizontal and parallel to the collar seam.

D. Years of service stripes may be affixed on the left sleeve of the Class A uniform shirt. Each stripe will signify five whole years employed as a commissioned peace officer or licensed and employed county jailer as reported by TCOLE.

1. The service stripes must be sewn to the lower front of the left sleeve.

2. The stripes will be at a 45-degree angle with the lower edge of the sleeve, placed toward the outside of the sleeve, and be even with the sleeves inside crease.

3. The lower corner of the service stripe will be one inch above the upper seam of the sleeve cuff.

4. Employees may only wear service stripes for accrued time in their current position, i.e., no detention stripes on a deputy uniform and vice versa.

5. Service stripes will be gold for all employees. [See Attachment A]

E. The official HCSO-issued badge must be worn above the left breast pocket.

F. The HCSO-issued name tag must be worn over the right breast pocket, one-eighth inch above the pocket or top edge of the pocket flap.

VI. Class B

The Class B uniform is approved for everyday use, except when the occasion or assignment has other requirements. The Class B uniform consist of the short sleeve uniform shirt with S.O. collar insignia and metal shirt buttons and pants with gold piping.

A. The badge, nametags, and S.O. pins must be affixed in the same manner as the Class A uniform.

B. No pins and ribbons may be worn with the Class B uniform except the mourning badge cover, TCOLE Master Proficiency Certification pin (Supervisors Only) and the years of service pin which sits above the nametag.

VII. Class C

The Class C uniform is approved for everyday use, except when the occasion or assignment has other requirements.  The Class C uniform consist of the BDU/Utility long or short sleeve shirt with sewn on badge patch and name tag, and BDU pants.

A. A cloth name strip and a cloth badge must be sewn onto each shirt.

NOTE: Class C uniform shirts with sewn-on cloth badges and nametags do not require the regulation-issued badge to be worn or carried. If the badge and nametag are not sown on, they should be affixed, along with the S.O. pins, in the same manner as required on the Class A uniform.

B. No pins and ribbons may be worn with the Class C uniform except the mourning badge cover.

C. Deputies must have “SHERIFF” in reflective lettering on the back of the shirt.

VIII. Polo Shirts

Employees issued polo shirts are authorized to wear them every day, except when the occasion or assignment has other requirements. Polo shirts will be embroidered according to the employee’s position and employees may not wear a polo shirt which displays a division, rank, or title which they are not actively assigned.

A. Polo Shirts May Be Worn With:

1. Issued pants and black-colored shoes with plain round toes. The shoes must not have any design or white stitching, and must have low, walking heels.

a. Shoe soles must be black in color.

b. The shoe tops must be clean and polished and have a full back.

2. Tactical pants and polished boots for deputies and detention personnel in non-office positions.

3. Dress pants and business casual shoes for office positions.

B. Master Telecommunicator Proficiency Certification

A telecommunications officer obtaining TCOLE master telecommunicator proficiency certification will be acknowledged by having “MTO” added at the end of their nametag.

IX. Plain Clothes

Employees permitted to wear plain clothes must conform to a business casual style, except when participating in formal occasions where a Class A uniform is expected, in which case, they should dress in formal clothing. Specific dress standards should reflect prevailing professional social standards. Extreme styles, colors, and fabrics, are not acceptable.

A. Females may wear dresses, skirts, and coordinated blouses with a skirt or slacks.

B. Men may wear dress shirts with open collars and dress pants with no coat provided that an appropriate coordinated sport coat or suit jacket and tie is immediately accessible. Shirts must be tucked into pants.

C. Belts must be plain black with a simple buckle or no buckle, or may be another color if it coordinates with the outfit worn.

D. The color and type of footwear should be coordinated with the style of dress being worn.

E. Head covers that are required for religious purposes (see Section XII) are allowed.

F. The following items are prohibited:

1. Jeans or shorts,

2. Leggings or spandex,

3. Extreme or ornate tie tacks,

4. Flip-flops, or slippers,

5. Pullover shirts and shirts with no collars,

6. Skirts shorter than one inch above the knees, and

7. Miniskirts or spaghetti strap dresses.

G. Purses may be carried by female personnel. Purses should be conservative and not gaudy or excessive in style and color.

H. Plain clothes employees who are authorized to wear otherwise prohibited clothing or jewelry for an assignment (such as undercover investigations) must abide by this section when not on their assignment (e.g., attending training at the Academy).

I. Deputies in plain clothes must visibly display their badges while on duty, on or near HCSO premises, or while involved in an investigation. Handcuffs and service weapons must be carried in a manner so as not to be provocative or offensive. For other public activities, the badge, handcuffs, and service weapon must be inconspicuous.

X. Specialty Uniforms

Employees may have specific dress code requirements for their assignment, in which case the dress code for their assignment is governed by their supervisor and SOP. The following units have special uniform requirements, but must otherwise conform to the remaining provisions of the dress code policy:

A. Units with Special Class C Uniforms

Employees assigned to these units will be issued special Class C uniforms for use with their assignment:

1. SWAT,

2. Bomb Unit,

3. Crime Scene Unit,

4. Marine Operations,

5. Mental Health Unit,

6. Vehicular Crimes Division, and

7. The Detention Command Containment Team.

B. Bicycle Patrol and Outdoor Work Programs

Uniformed deputies who are part of a unit requiring them to be outside under heat and direct sun for the majority of their shift may be authorized to wear the HCSO approved bicycle pants or shorts with the Class C short sleeve shirt.

1. These units include:

a. Bicycle Patrol,

b. Graffiti Abatement,

c. Inmate Community Work Program (ICWP), and

d. Sheriff’s Weekend Work Program (SWEWP).

2. A bicycle helmet must be worn in conjunction with the bicycle uniform while performing bicycle patrol duties.

3. An HCSO approved baseball cap may be worn in conjunction with the bicycle shorts, but not in lieu of a bicycle helmet while riding.

C. Air Support Unit

Uniformed deputies assigned to the Air Support Unit can wear the approved Nomex® flight suit or optional polo-style flight shirt with Class C pants.

D. Motorcycle Units

Uniformed deputies assigned to operate a motorcycle must abide by the following rules while riding a motorcycle:

1. Wear a Helmet

Deputies must wear a helmet while riding. The helmet will be regulation-issue with an approved “SHERIFF” decal on both sides.

2. Regulation Motorcycle Jacket

A regulation-issued motorcycle jacket or optional HCSO windbreaker (employee purchase) is allowed to be worn with a full uniform. The windbreaker must have shoulder seams that allow for proper placement of the HCSO shoulder patches and any appropriate rank designations (i.e., no raglan, French style, or drop shoulder sleeves).

3. Trousers

The motorcycle riding trousers will be regulation-issued.

4. Boots

The motorcycle boots will be regulation-issued and must be kept highly polished.

XI. Service Weapons, Holsters, and Armor

Service weapons, related accessories, and armor worn or used by a deputy or detention officer in the performance of duty must be approved by the HCSO. Employees who are neither a deputy nor a detention officer are prohibited from carrying weapons while on-duty.

A. Service Weapons

1. Fully-Loaded Weapon

a. Employees authorized to carry service weapons must carry them fully-loaded.

b. Service weapons are subject to the requirements of Policy #702 – Firearms Control, Qualifications, and Training and any other applicable portion of the Department Manual.

c. Cartridge loop holders, speed loaders, and magazines for semi-automatic weapons must be fully loaded.

2. Additional Ammunition

In addition to a fully-loaded firearm, employees authorized to carry firearms will carry two complements of extra ammunition (i.e., two speed loaders – 6 rounds each, or two magazines – fully loaded). Duty ammunition must be purchased by the employee.

B. Weapon Holsters (employee purchase)

Weapon holsters must have the original manufacturer’s configuration and attach to the duty belt through a high-ride, mid-ride, or low-ride belt loop.

1. Deputies must only carry holsters manufactured by Safariland which utilize the Automatic Locking System (ALS) retention, Self-Locking System (SLS) retention, or a combination of both retention systems.

2. Plain-clothes and off-duty deputies may utilize holsters other than those manufactured by Safariland. 

3. Blackhawk Serpa or similar style holsters that utilize a retention device activated and de-activated with the trigger finger are prohibited for use on or off-duty.

4. Swivel holsters are prohibited.

NOTE: Drop-down or tactical holsters may only be worn by specialized units as authorized by the Sheriff or his or her designee for a specific duty assignment.

C. Speed Loaders (employee purchase)

Up to three six-round loaders may be worn on a duty belt with a revolver. Holders for speed loaders must be of the same type and quality material as HCSO-issued leather or nylon gear.

D. Magazine Pouch (employee purchase)

One magazine pouch must be worn with a semi-automatic weapon. The magazine pouch may hold up to three magazines for double-stacked weapons, and quad magazine holders may be worn for single-stacked weapons. Additional magazine pouches are not permitted on the belt.

E. Body Armor:

Body armor must be provided to deputies under the oversight of the Homeland Security Bureau commander. The type and quantity of body armor issued will be determined by assignment and must be worn in accordance with bureau policies.

Body armor carriers will be made available for purchase through the HCSO-approved vendor to employees desiring additional carriers beyond those provided.

1. Outer Carrier

Outer carriers are approved for wear over the regulation-issued uniform shirt.

a. Outer carriers must have a sewn-on cloth badge and cloth name strip.

b. The HCSO-issued badge and name plate must be worn with the outer carrier if they’re not sown-on.

c. “SHERIFF” in reflective lettering must be located on the back of the carrier.

2. Rifle-Plate Body Armor

Rifle-plate body armor must be provided to deputies under the oversight of the Homeland Security Bureau Commander. This body armor should be worn in conjunction with the deputy’s regular issued body armor, either the inner or outer carrier, in any situation involving active shooters, or the threat of high-powered rifle fire.

a. The body armor and carrier must be carried with the deputy during assigned duty hours.

b. Body armor must not be left inside a vehicle for an extended period of time (i.e. trunk of patrol vehicle), as the material of the armored plates are susceptible to heat, rendering the equipment ineffective.

c. The body armor must be removed from any vehicle it is stored or transported in at the end of the deputy’s tour of duty and kept in a safe location.

XII. Accessories and Other Equipment

A. Belt

The uniform belt must be plain black leather with no belt buckle or with a plain buckle that must not exceed the belt width. The belt must not be visible when a Sam Browne or nylon duty belt is worn.

B. Duty Belt

The AccuMold duty belt will be worn with the Class A, B, and C uniforms. The authorized AccuMold duty belt, keepers, and cuff case are the following:

1. Bianchi AccuMold Elite 2 ¼” Duty Belt

2.  Bianchi AccuMold Elite Belt Keepers 4-PK

3. Bianchi AccuMold Elite Single Cuff Case

The holster and magazine pouch for the AccuMold duty belt will remain an employee purchase item.

The high gloss Sam Browne duty belt and holster are still authorized for wear with the Class A uniform. The high gloss duty belt will be phased out, date to be determined.

Exception: Deputies assigned to Harris County administration and detention facilities may not be required to wear AccuMold duty belt while on duty and inside the facility except as directed by a supervisor. However, a deputy’s AccuMold duty belt, firearm, and other equipment should be easily accessible to the deputy.

C. Snaps

Hidden snaps attached to the trouser belt and the inside of the duty belt are allowed. Double-wide snaps are permitted but must be worn in the back only.

D. O-Ring (employee purchase)

O-rings may be worn specifically for retaining a flashlight or baton. No more than two O-rings must be worn at any time.

1. The “straight stick” baton must be carried in an oval metal ring attached to the duty belt by a strap fastener.

2. The expandable baton must be carried in a scabbard of a material and a configuration that is compatible with the duty belt when carried in uniform. If the expandable baton is being carried by an employee not in uniform, it must be concealed from view.

E. Handcuffs

1. At least one pair of handcuffs (employee purchase) must be carried in the handcuff pouch. A maximum of two handcuff pouches, either single or double pouch, open or closed flap, may be worn on the Sam Browne or nylon duty belt.

2. A handcuff key must be carried and kept separately from the handcuffs.

3. Only black or silver colored handcuffs are permitted.

F. Flashlight (employee purchase)

A flashlight (black-colored only) may be carried on the Sam Browne or nylon duty belt. It must be retained by an O-ring, and its maximum length must not exceed five D-cell or six C-cell battery capacity. A mini flashlight may be worn on the Sam Browne or nylon duty belt in an appropriately-designed pouch (black-colored only).

G. Raincoats

Raincoats worn with the HCSO uniform must be HCSO regulation-issue only. Black raincoat leggings may be worn with the county-issued raincoat. These leggings are optional and must be purchased at the employee’s expense.

Raincoats are typically only issued to employees expected to spend the majority of their shift outdoors, such as deputies.

H. Purses, Wallets, and Backpacks

No purses or hand-carried wallets may be carried or worn by employees while in uniform. Items that need to be hand-carried may instead be carried in a plain briefcase of conservative style and color.

Backpacks may be carried to and from an employee’s assigned duty area. The approved backpack must be of a conservative style and black-colored, except for employees assigned to detention facilities in which case it must be clear and see-through. The backpack must not be worn during the performance of the employee’s routine duties.

I. Special Uniforms and Equipment

Special uniforms and equipment for very specific functions will be addressed independently of the dress code (e.g., Academy or Honor Guard).

J. Reflective Vest

A lime green reflective safety vest with “SHERIFF” in black lettering must be worn with the uniform (on or off duty) any time a deputy is directing traffic or involved in a traffic control function.

K. Cellular Telephone

A cellular telephone may be worn with the duty belt or other belt, except where otherwise prohibited by an employee’s standard operating procedures. The cellphone must be black or covered by a black case.

XIII. Religious and Medical Exemptions

The HCSO does not discriminate against any employee because of that person’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual or gender orientation, national origin, age, disability, handicap, or veteran status.

A. The HCSO is committed to accommodating an employee in regard to a dress code issue where the employee proves a unique need due to a bona fide medical condition or a firmly-established religious belief and such condition or belief does not otherwise prevent the employee from fulfilling his or her normally assigned job duties.

B. An employee who believes that, for religious or medical reasons, he or she should be allowed to deviate from the dress code policy may request an accommodation from the Sheriff or his or her designee.

C. The employee may request as many accommodations as may be required by his or her religion or medical condition.

D. A medical condition must be documented by a physician and the HCSO medical director. A medical exception must fit within the course and scope of the employee’s normal job duties.

E. The Sheriff or his or her designee must review each request on a case-by-case basis.

1. Circumstances surrounding the request must be investigated in order to determine whether the accommodation must be granted or denied.

2. Any and potential safety issues or operational concerns the requested accommodation would have on the employee, the HCSO, other employees, inmates, and the public must be taken into account.

F. If an accommodation that refers to the wearing of an article of faith is approved, the cost associated with the procuring of and maintaining of the article of faith must be borne by the employee.

NOTE: Examples of articles of faith are head covers, clothing, jewelry, objects, symbols, and other items of dress of religious significance that are firmly established within the employee’s religion.

G. Any approved accommodation must be noted in writing and specifically describe the accommodation being made by the HCSO. The written approval must be placed in the employee’s personnel file.

1. If an employee is not satisfied with the ruling of the Sheriff, or his or her designee, the employee may request a hearing with the Sheriff to present his or her reasons for the request for the accommodation or the objections to the specific nature of the approval or denial.

2. A denial of a request for accommodation must state the reasons for such denial.

H. In the event that an accommodation becomes a health or safety issue for any employee, inmate, or the public, the Sheriff reserves the right to cancel a previously approved accommodation.

NOTE: An employee may appeal the cancellation of an accommodation as he or she would the denial of an accommodation.

XIV. Applicability

The dress code applies to HCSO employees while on-duty, or any time they are acting on behalf of the HCSO, as well as when off-duty where specified.

Personnel assigned to a covert operations assignment, or those assigned to duties that require uniform modification for specific duties not addressed in this policy, may be excluded from compliance with specific portions of the policy.

XV. Unserviceable Uniform

If an HCSO-issued part of the uniform becomes unserviceable, the employee must return the item to Uniform Supply for replacement.

XVI. Off-Duty Requirements for Deputies

While off duty, deputies must carry or have in their immediate possession their HCSO-issued badge or valid HCSO identification, and an approved, fully-loaded firearm. The firearm should be concealed, and carried properly in a holster and in such a manner that it would be secure from movement and unauthorized access.

This section does not apply when the deputy is engaged in activities (e.g., sports) that make carrying such identification and weapon impractical or during activities such as attending educational classes, a place of worship, or traveling outside the State of Texas.

Additionally, the requirement to carry a firearm is optional, and this section must not apply when:

The deputy is under the influence of alcohol or in an environment where he or she may consume alcohol. The deputy is strongly encouraged to consider the totality of the exigent circumstances and actual need for an immediate law enforcement response before acting. A deputy taking law enforcement action while impaired may not be considered as acting within the course and scope of his or her employment.


This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

August 16, 2018

November 28, 2018

February 15, 2019

May 21, 2019

December 3, 2020

August 4, 2021

Attachment A

Service Stripes

Attachment B

TCOLE Master Proficiency Chevrons

Peace Officer and Detention Officer

Attachment C

Sergeant and Detention Sergeant Chevron

Employee Purchase Authorization & Request for Accommodation Forms

This attachment includes several forms, including the Employee Purchase Authorization, and the Request for Accommodation Form.

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