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The Daily Tar Heel

EMS, Police Given Permission to Display Flags

The Uniform Committee -- which includes deputy directors from Orange County fire services, emergency medical services and the 911 center -- made the decision Friday after re-evaluating EMS' uniform policy.

The decision came after employees were told to remove flag ribbons from their uniforms and vehicles, which were donned in support of the Sept. 11 victims in New York and Washington, D.C.

Modified employee nametags will have two flags crossed at the staff overlaying the Liberty Bell, which bears the slogan "liberty and justice for all," said Nick Waters, director of EMS.

"The nametag will become a permanent part of the uniform," Waters said.

Flag decals for vehicles also have been approved. Both the nametags and the decals are in production.

Waters issued a memo to employees shortly after Sept. 11, emphasizing that uniform policies would remain intact despite the terrorist attacks.

The memo stated that flag pins and ribbons on uniforms and vehicles violated policy, Waters said.

He also said employees would need to follow the regular procedure for getting approval of changes to the uniform.

Since issuing the memo, Waters said he has not received any formal requests from employees to change the uniform policy.

But even though there were no formal requests, the Uniform Committee decided that a permanent change to the uniform would be the best way to allow employees to express support.

Other agencies, such as the Chapel Hill Police Department, waived certain restrictions to its dress code immediately following the attacks.

Jane Cousins, police spokeswoman, said some police officers are wearing flag ribbons or pins and flying small flags from patrol vehicles.

"Officers who choose to may add (ribbons or flags) if they want to, if it doesn't interfere with their duties or offend anyone," Cousins said.

"It is left to the individual decision of each officer, and every officer is wearing a black ribbon over the badge."

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