The troopers’ union and the Ohio highway patrol are engaged in a battle over the shoes being issued to the troopers. According to the Ohio State Troopers Association, the new shoes that are being issued to the troopers are slick which leads to slip and falls. The association also claims that the shoes come of easily while the troopers are chasing suspects on foot or when they are wrestling with them. The troopers and the Union has filed complaints and they are accusing the Ohio Highway Patrol of building unsafe working conditions for the troopers by demanding that they start wearing the new shoes by 1st of November. The union has further accused the patrol of placing leadership in front of safety by refusing to change its option of buckle-and-strap shoe in preference for leather lace-up-chukka which is more athletic and a favorite of many troopers.
However, in response to the grievances raised by the union, the patrol has claimed that the union cannot prove that its choice of shoes for troopers has led to loss of work time or injuries as the same type of shoes had been worn by troopers earlier and that no one has ever raised questions as to their safety. However, even as they stick to their choice of shoes, the patrol has said that they are willing to discuss the issue of shoes with the union rather than for the issue to be taken to an arbitrator which could last up to 18 months. Through their spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston, the patrol has said that it is the right of the management to determine the troopers’ equipment wear while on duty but they would never let their choice lead to a situation that would compromise the safety of the officers.
The troopers and their union have however continued to criticize the patrol’s choice of shoes with the association’s Facebook fan page having numerous complaints from the troopers with some of them even posting a video that shows how the shoe can come of easily. The troopers say that the shoes are not manufactured to endure the severity of the of the road work. They have further complained that they are being subjected to probable injury by being forced to wear the shoes which some of the troopers and union officials have described as a dress shoe.
The troopers have continued to raise more complaints about the shoes claiming that the shoes do not offer ankle support and that they are not resistant to moisture. The troopers have also raised questions as to why those in other areas such as motor enforcement and canine handlers continue wearing the old shoes. However, the troopers and their union have said that they would not object to wearing the shoes on ceremonial occasions or to the court houses. The troopers have also said that they can still be allowed to wear shoes which are more rugged during weather conditions which are severe such as during rainy seasons.