When are jeans appropriate attire for work?

Update: The Jonesboro mayor has fired Jonesboro Police Chief Brad Johnson. Why? See below:

Recently, there was a story about Brad Johnson, the Jonesboro police chief, who was suspended because he refused to wear a traditional police uniform. Instead, he chose to wear jeans while on the job. Mayor Luther Maddox was not amused and considered Chief Johnson’s choice of work attire as insubordination. He suspended him for five days. The suspension was appealed and cut in half.

Chief Johnson has relented and now says he will wear a uniform to work.

When do you think it is appropriate to wear jeans or other casual attire to work? As the summer season approaches, this becomes more of an issue in the office, as not everyone agrees on the amount of skin one should show while in the workplace, or just how casual one’s attire should be on the job. For someone in an official city position like the police chief, do you think they should be required to wear a uniform?

76 comments Add your comment


May 22nd, 2009
7:48 am

If the previous Chief was wearing jeans for any duration, then the subsequent Chief is repremanded for the same action, it apears that there is another underlying issue. Jeans were an excuse.


May 22nd, 2009
8:25 am

Semper Fi and I agree. (He’s a Marine, I’m Army). Jeans are where we are as a society. They can be dressed up or down. It normally puts the person receiving the “wearer” at ease. If you were going to a formal meeting, then appropriate dress mandates. This is nothing more than an excuse. I work for a laarge corporation, they still beleive in business casual, which are slacks and polos. What is the difference between that get up and jeans? Lighten up folks. Really….

Owned by 3 huge dogs

May 22nd, 2009
8:34 am

It is possible to look “professional” in jeans……if you wear them the right way and with the right shirt and jacket. Jeans are perfect as a uniform. As a nurse, I wish I could wear them too. They wear better, last longer, and are much less expensive than the whites that I have to wear. And it is my understanding that he is (was?) the chief in a smaller community. He most likely did not sit in an office all day. I truly would rather deal with a cop in a pair of jeans than some hotshot in a perfectly tailored uniform. But then I am an old hippie anyway. And I have never been a mainstream thinker. But common sense and logic are not mainstream in today’s society, either. Don’t back down, chief, some of us have your back.


May 22nd, 2009
8:44 am

Brad is a good man and I doubt he’s ever met a stranger. He’s one of those few people who will do whatever he can to help you no matter what your circumstances are. I doubt he’s out on patrol on a daily basis and therefore if the policy manual says he can dictate the dress of the department then he’s within his rights to wear whatever he deems appropriate. I don’t see the Mayor winning a judicial review of the case. If they’ve had 6 police chiefs in 9 years it sounds like there is a problem somewhere else besides the police department……specifically the Mayor. He’s seems like he has nothing else to do but to but into everyone’s business!! Give’m hell 406!!

exmarks the spot

May 22nd, 2009
9:10 am

This is not about jeans, this is about ego, power and the abuse of that power. It’s time for a new mayor!


May 22nd, 2009
9:12 am

I doubt the real issue is jeans, it sounds like a small-time politician is trying to make himself look more important than he really is! Too bad it isn’t this easy to get rid of politicians in office!

As for the jeans, there is NOTHING wrong, in the case of the (former) Police Chief it may have made his job easier to look more casual when dealing with the public. I have to wonder if the useless mayor will require undercover cops to wear uniforms when on duty?

Owned by 3 huge dogs

May 22nd, 2009
9:30 am

Oh and that remark about his teeth was really uncalled for…….I would be willing to bet that the department doesn’t offer much in the way of dental insurance and do any of you have any idea what the chief’s salary is? Not too many honest cops are rolling in dough.


May 22nd, 2009
9:32 am

Get real… the issue is not with the Chief wearing jeans – time to get rid of the old school Mayor!

Troy Bolt

May 22nd, 2009
9:55 am

Sounds to me like Boss Hog is at it again. He kinda favored the Hog. Small town politicians are most of the time on a power trip. The chief stopped wearing the jeans when he was told to so whats the problem now.

The Voice

May 22nd, 2009
9:59 am

I work in public safety and how you present yourself to the public is most important. When we arrive on the scene we have to take control and if we arrive looking like Bubba from In The Heat of The Night then were are looked upon as Barneys from Andy Griffith. He is the Chief. He leads the department. He should be the most professional one there. He openly challanged the mayor (who is recgonized as a first class moron) in public. Never Never Ever air your dirty laundry in public, it does nothing but cause problems and lower morale. I don’t feel sorry for the chief….I feel sorry for the officers.


May 22nd, 2009
10:06 am

Luther Maddox is an ignorant redneck. What Brad Johnson wore was fine and professional with the included sport coat and cowboy hat. I guess now every top cop in the state of Texas is unprofessional. You can look professional in nice jeans. It made Brad Johnson more approachable and that is what the public likes. It is time to get fat backwoods redneck squeal-like-a-pig slobs like Luther Maddox out of office but I guess first we will have to remove his head from his a$$.


May 22nd, 2009
10:35 am

The Mayor has the authority to ensure his top police officer dress appropriately. The Chief in turn should set an example for his subordinates. The Police Chief must understand that when he is in the public eye; his appearence is judged by the citizens who help elect him into office. While his attire was clean and his appearance was in order; this was not a good example to set for the other police officer. You come to the office in a professional dress attire setting an example for the rest of the police officer to follow. When dress on duty in jeans it send a wrong message that other police officer might follow. It would not look professional if any police officer show’s up in jeans to make an arrest or to try and solve a problem dressed in that manner. If this was not an ongoing offense, the Mayor should administer the chief a written discipline letter. A chief does not disobey the Mayor’s orders even if the Mayor is wrong. Chief, you can wear your Jean off duty when you are out shopping or around your community. I think you do not mean any disrespect to the Mayor since you were already in your Jeans oand dress coat on your job! If you were working uncover, he Mayor would not disagree with you wearing jeans. I think the Mayor do not want this to become a trend with police officer that might assume they can do the same. Atlanta detectives wear their dress hat when going to honmocides calls, they look good because they are also wearing suits. Those hats are appropriate.

C. M. Thornton, III

May 22nd, 2009
10:44 am

I have been a cop for 15 years. I would like to comment that jeans and a fu-manchu mustache are by NO mean professional attire and grooming standards for a chief of police, especially in the metro Atlanta area. The chief represents the entire department and that department’s image. If the chief does not want to wear the uniform that he demands his officers wear, at the very least he needs to wear slacks, dress shirt and tie. The chief must set the example of professionalism for his officers to follow. This chief obviously does not do that. They mayor was right to enforce a professional appearance for the police department.

On a side note, it’s standard world-wide for police departments to wear uniforms. In fact, on our department’s application there is the question, “Do you object to wearing a uniform”. Uniforms represent unity and professionalism. Blue jeans, injected into this setting, represent individualism.


May 22nd, 2009
10:45 am

Is the mayor black?


May 22nd, 2009
10:49 am

I think the lesson he learned here is that jeans are appropriate to wear to the unemployment office.


May 22nd, 2009
10:53 am

Six Police Chiefs in nine years? I don’t think the problem is with either the Chief or with the jeans. Sounds like that city has some serious problems with management, and the Chief is just the latest scapegoat.


May 22nd, 2009
12:05 pm

The mayor did not forbid the chief from wearing jeans. I think that if he had told him not to wear them and they were still worn, he should have suspended him. The city council halved the suspension, and they were supposed to meet tonight. But the mayor jumped the gun and fired the chief. Sounds like a “petty power decision”to me…or a p***** contest!


May 22nd, 2009
12:50 pm

The whole thing sounds personal…… a vendetta !


May 22nd, 2009
1:31 pm

In the metro Atlanta region, people shake their heads once again! There goes Clayton County.

In the words of Allen Iverson…
“we talking about jeans!”

What is the change in the crime rate of the municipality of Jonesboro, GA?

How many officers have increased their professional training and skill level during the tenure of Chief Johnson?

Has the Jonesboro Police Department assisted in improving the conviction rate of the DA’s office for cases involving Jonesboro, GA?

“Are we talking bout jeans?!”


May 22nd, 2009
3:11 pm

We are talking Clayton County people…..the ghetto! Who cares what he wears if he has to run after drug selling thugs and murderers! It is 2009….Small town USA good ole boy system makes me sick. I am sure he is more comfortable trying to keep rotten Clayton County safe in jeans than in a uniform….and it saves tax payer dollars – they do not have to pay for the stiff uniforms that are heavy and very uncomfortable! Get Real Mayor – look around and see what is really important. Jonesboro was once a nice place…..now is it terrible.


May 22nd, 2009
3:13 pm

Enter your comments here


May 22nd, 2009
3:40 pm

Here is my take, not just on Clayton County, but on corporate America, period.

If a person is handling their business in their job duties, it should not matter what they wear to work. Yes, I understand in some professions business attire is more appropriate, but I’ve learned that clothes do not necessarily equate to adequate job performance. Just like a degree does not automatically make a person qualified for a job. There are more important things to focus on in the workplace.


May 22nd, 2009
6:23 pm

Again – EVERYONE READ THIS. These are the mayor’s OWN words. This is what HE said in running for this office. He completely lied.

“”I am the only candidate that will form a team with the council to take Jonesboro forward. The constant bickering and personal agendas will stop. I will consult the council and seek their input on issues as they arise during the course of running the city.”

[...] had a good, spirited discussion on BlogBreak recently about the Jonesboro police chief who was fired for wearing jeans instead of a traditional uniform to work. A recent article suggests that casual days at the [...]


August 3rd, 2009
2:39 pm

I have several stories on this subject Many years ago in the sixties I use to hang out with a Rock and Roll band the group would have go and do an audition before they would hired to do the gig.

I would help the group set-up the equipment my attire was a pair bell bottom slacks generally a plaid design a nice button type shirt with the wide collar and a pair of dress shoe with a pointed toe.

Now the Manger would show wearing clothing like he had just finished working 7-3 shift at the local gas station pumping gas and doing oil changes. On many occassions the owner of the club or the person who was in charge to hiring the the group would come up to me and start to talk to me as if I was the Manager of the group. Hmm

I went to work for a Travel Tour Company driving a Motor coach. The dress code was a tie a dress shirt with the company logo (they provided) a sport coat (again they provided) a pair of dress slacks (provided).

When there was a two or three bus move the senior man was always the lead Bus or Bus # 1. Several times when we would arrive at the pick-up point and be lined up in order, The lead Driver would not have on a tie, or a sport coat. I on the other hand would be dressed in the provided uniform. The group leader on many occassions would walk up to me and assume I was leader even though I may been the last bus in line. Gee I wonder why ??? Maybe because people think the professional looking person looks MORE responsible More organized ? ?

It has been proven time and time again that the customer or client forms his opinion in the first 15 seconds I repeat this 15 seconds of meeting you! ! Hmm



December 11th, 2009
5:31 pm

As far as the chief wearing his uniform: He should not wear jeans daily, but on occasion if he’s not on patrol and in the office with no formal meetings whats wrong with that? However, I can remeber my father and uncle both police officers making sure their uniforms were perfect. They both wore a pull on black uniform wellington style boot (i think the same syle as Andy wore in the Andy Griffith Show) that were highly polished. (I had to polish my fathers) I have to say when they were in their uniforms they looked professional and they were respected.