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Highway Patrol to Limit Footwear Choices for Ohio Troopers

COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia/Ken Hines) -- A debate is afoot within the Ohio State Highway Patrol over a cost-cutting measure that limits the footwear choices made available to troopers.

Athletic chukka-style boots with laces are the preferred footwear for many troopers, but a recent decision was made by OSHP officials to offer only chukkas with buckles, rather than both styles.

The decision to limit the options was attributed to a desire for consistency, standardization, and the professional look of the footwear, according to OSHP spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston.

OSHP officials are hoping to reduce overall costs by ordering one boot style at large quantities, rather than multiple styles in smaller amounts. Both styles of shoes cost $88 a pair.  

OSHP policy was updated in December, 2012 to reflect the change, which will go into effect in November, 2013.

The change is not popular with a number of troopers, who have filed grievances over the decision because of perceived issues with the boots' functionality.

They are slick on the bottom," State Troopers' Association president Larry Phillips said. "The buckle style can easily slip off a troopers foot when chasing a suspect on foot."

Ralston defends the organization's decision, and does not believe the buckle-only boots present a threat to troopers' well-being.

Ive worn these [buckle] shoes for 15 years," she said. "Our trooper safety on the road is number one. Certainly we wouldnt make a decision that would potentially put our officers at risk.

The troopers' grievances will soon move to an arbitration process, according to Lt. Ralston.
 
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