Fechheimer Brothers Company has been producing public safety apparel since 1842. This is a little longer than I've been in law enforcement, so I was introduced to its products the first time I walked into a uniform shop. I've always been impressed with the quality of Fechheimer's Flying Cross apparel, and I jumped at the chance to test the new Flying Cross Public Safety Jacket.
The Flying Cross Public Safety Jacket, available in navy blue or black, was made with uniformed work in mind. The jacket is easy to move around in, and the outer shell doesn't rustle like the traditional chill-chaser shell, a valuable asset during tactical approaches in the field.
The shell's Rip-Stop nylon design consists of reinforced stitching to make the jacket tear resistant. A drawstring hood stores in a hidden zippered pocket behind the collar. The hood doesn't add any bulk to the collar and definitely minimizes post-rain wet-head. Inside the shell, the jacket features a waterproof liner, which I find especially beneficial because wearing a weatherproof jacket greatly reduces the need for additional rain gear. The shell is equipped with weepholes, allowing any water between the shell and liner to escape. The liner is also wind resistant, but it breathes nicely, keeping the wearer comfortable.
This is where the experienced officer says, "Sure, but what about sewing on the emblems and punching holes in the weatherproof liner?" Well, someone at Fechheimer must have talked to officers in rain country because this irritating problem has been solved. The sleeves of the shell offer hidden zipper access, enabling emblem application without liner puncture. The shell also provides access for emblem application on the left breast area, so you can sew a cloth badge on.
The front of the jacket features two fleece-lined hand pockets welcome hand warmers on cold nights. There are also two utility pockets equipped with zippers. Both sides of the jacket sport 10" side-vents equipped with zippers and snap closures, allowing you to secure the jacket around your duty weapon.
Everyone who has had to stand on a dark roadway at night will appreciate the three reflective drop-down panels stored in two enclosures on the front and one across the back of the jacket. The drop-down panels in my jacket read "Police," but you can order them for "Sheriff," etc. Keeping them at the ready eliminates needing to dig through your equipment bag, in the dark, trying to find a reflective vest. The panels attach by a zipper, and when not in use, tuck nicely into the Velcro-secured enclosures. I was surprised by the high visibility of these panels at night.
The Public Safety Jacket also includes a zip-out Thinsulate insulation liner, which features a pocket and securely snaps to the interior of the sleeves. The jacket is very warm when the liner is installed. Growing up in the Southwest gave me thin blood, and I'm cold when the temperature drops below 60 degrees F. That said, I could not find a Southern California night cold enough to wear the liner during the entire winter. The jacket shell itself is remarkably warm.
The Flying Cross Public Safety Jacket is definitely the most versatile uniform jacket I've worn. The jacket is priced at the upper end of the uniform outerwear price range approximately $250 but the versatility of this garment makes the price seem very reasonable to me.
Neil Gallucci has been a police officer for more than 17 years, serving the majority of that time in uniformed assignments, including patrol, bicycle patrol and canine handler.
Fechheimer Brothers Company
4545 Malsbary Road
Cincinnati, OH 45242