Wyoming sheriff's deputy Gene Bryson decides to give up his badge rather than stop wearing a cowboy hat

Veteran said he had dressed in Western-style clothes all his life and had no plans to stop

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The Independent US

Wyoming sheriff’s deputy Gene Bryson has been a law enforcement officer for 40 years. And during all that time he has come to work wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boot.

So when the new sheriff decided to impose a dress code for his officers that included a ban on traditional Western clothing, Mr Bryson decided it was time to put away his sheriff’s badge for good.

“I am not going to change,” Mr Bryson told the Casper Star-Tribune. “I've been here for 40-odd years in the sheriff's office, and I'm not going to go out and buy combat boots and throw my vest and hat away and say, ‘This is the new me’.”

He added: “And I’ve had a cowboy hat on since 19 — I don’t know. That’s what looks good to me in the sheriff’s department. It’s Western. It’s Wyoming.”

The Associated Press said the new dress code had been imposed by Sublette County Sheriff Stephen Haskell, whose turf in western Wyoming includes the town of Pinedale.

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Kurt Radzay hangs on during the Bareback Bronc competition at Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo July 26, 2001

Mr Haskell, 53, has asked told his staff that he wants them to wear black trousers, a tan shirt, black boots and a black ball cap, saying the change was for safety and uniformity. He said his officers dressed in so many different styles it as he was heading the “Skittles platoon”.

“I’m very much for the Western way of life and the look. And that’s the way I dress,” said Mr Haskell. “However, for a professional outfit. I like everybody to look the same. We are one team unified in one purpose. That is to do our job.”

Mr Haskell also argued that cowboy boots were slippery on ice and cowboy hats can blow away in Wyoming's blustery wind.

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All deputies in Sublette County have been asked to wear a new uniform

Mr Bryson was not impressed. For 40 years he had worn a brown cowboy hat, brown cowboy boots and and either a leather or woollen vest, depending on the season.

And he was not willing to give up the look. Last Friday was his last day at work. “That’s the way I dress,” said Mr Bryson. “Three hundred sixty-five days out of the year.”

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