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Why do Police Officers Have to Wear Hats?

A close look at a police officer with a hat strapped to his belt.

Law enforcement officers have a tough job; keeping communities safe, while constantly putting their lives in danger is no easy feat. If you’ve ever observed a police officer before, you may have noticed a few things.

For one, they always have a badge and a few tools to keep them safe (most notably a gun, but in some instances they also carry tasers, flashlights, batons, and more). Something you probably haven’t noticed, though, is the fact that some police officers wear hats.

You may be wondering, “why do police officers have to wear hats?”. The answer is multi-faceted. In this article, we’re going to explore the reasons why police officers wear hats to help you gain a better understanding of their importance to a law enforcement uniform:


Police hats help show the public when an officer is involved in something like a foot pursuit of a suspect. This helps keep the officers safe. It also helps prevent them from being shot if things get heated in a situation.

When someone in the public is looking for an officer, they can easily spot them if they see their hat. It also serves the purpose of showing witnesses who the police are in misconduct situations. The hat is similar to an officer having a second badge because they include the officer’s badge number.


A police hat even has a psychological meaning. It gives the feeling of authority and power to not only the officer but also to members of the public.

Children can learn to respect police officers and other members of the public can feel safe when they see a uniformed officer. Another good benefit is that criminals will usually stop what they are doing or not commit a crime at all if they find an officer nearby.

A couple of police officer on patrol wearing uniforms and hats.


Their hats also help prevent them from the weather; when it is raining, they will stay dry. They wear traditional uniform hats that most members of public recognition.


Officers can also wear different hats depending on their work situation. There is something called a Watch Cap, which can come in two versions: lined or unlined.

They are either dark navy or black in color and are made with low pill acrylic fiber and wool. They are durable, comfortable, and washable. They also have a traditional stocking cap design with a ribbed knit. Also, the lined option has a windproof, breathable wind stopper lining.

Carhartt Men's High Visibility Color Enhanced Beanie,Brite Lime,One Size
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The Hi-Vis Skull Cap is also a hat option for police officers. This style of hat is sleek and contemporary. They are bright yellow in color and have a crosswalk patterned edge. This helps the officers have more visibility. It also has the same warmth that the Watch Cap does, but has more high visibility hues.

KBK-1464 BLK M Cadet Army Cap Basic Everyday Military Style Hat
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Officers will also need a casual hat like the military-style fatigue caps. To a regular member of the public, they look like a regular baseball cap. The Stretch Fitted Cap is closer to the head, but it also has a bill that helps protect the eyes of the officer from things like the sun and wind.

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