LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – After receiving advice from people in law enforcement, West Metro’s fire chief says he is asking staff to stop wearing uniforms that have badges.
Fire Chief Don Lombardi doesn’t want firefighters confused for a police officer as violence is being threatened against those first responders. Lt. Dustin Horn showed CBS4’s Jennifer Brice how the formal West Metro Fire uniform can easily be mistaken for a police officer.READ MORE: $30,000 Reward Now Offered In 1970 Murder Of Marilee Burt
Denver-area law enforcement agencies are on alert after someone called the Aurora Police Department’s 911 dispatch center and threatened to start shooting officers.
Horn says it’s a sad situation.
“Those are our brother’s in blue,” he said. “I love working with them. They’re out there helping people like we are.”READ MORE: Colorado Air Force Reserve Takes To The Skies For Wildfire Training
West Metro’s chief chose to switch all uniformed employees to the Class C uniform without the badge, temporarily, for safety concerns. The Class C uniform is a t-shirt with the department logo and labeled “Firefighter” on it.
While firefighters are proud of their badges they understand the new directive. West Metro say it’s been a difficult decision to remove those badges because of the pride, but firefighters often end up on the same calls for service as police officers.
West Metro Public Information Officer Ronda Scholting said, “It’s difficult to tell the difference between police and firefighters because a lot of the departments wear the same uniform — a navy shirt with a badge.”
West Metro says other fire agencies along the Front Range are considering the temporary dress code change until the climate of threats calms down. Firefighters say about 50 percent of their calls end up on the same scenes with Police Officers.MORE NEWS: Denver Chefs Team Up To Fundraise For AAPI Causes: 'We Need To Do Something More'