I think the dress code for cops reporters should include hip waders. A fairly new pair of brown flats were the most recent casualty in the battle of gathering news. No matter how many times I’ve scrubbed them, the mud remains caked on the fabric.
I’m usually more careful about what I wear to work, but I slipped up while covering a plane crash a few weeks ago. The plane sat in the middle of a corn field and I made the trek from my vehicle to the scene with little thought to the recent rains and muddy fields. A few days earlier, I had worn my much-needed rain boots inside my apartment and left them there. It was the demise of my brown flats.
In the little more than a year since I’ve been covering this beat, I’ve learned a few things about dressing for the job. I even made a few guidelines.
Rule #1: No skirts after Thanksgiving. There have been a couple of times I’ve broken this rule and I regret it each time. There’s little worse than being at a scene for several hours and suddenly all feeling is gone from my lower extremities. My goal is to wear as many layers as possible and still be able to button my coat.
Rule #2: When it’s raining, snowing or otherwise gross out, wear boots. My pink plaid rain boots have made quite the impression on York County responders. Let’s just say I’ve been made fun of at several scenes for modeling the stylish footwear.
Rule #3: Carry back-ups. In the backseat of my car is a rain coat, a puffy winter coat, a number of winter hats, an umbrella, hand warmers and extra socks. It’s pretty much a second closet. I once spent nine hours standing in the freezing wind at a trench collapse. I hiked up a snow-covered hill to get to a house fire. I waded in flood waters last year in an effort to talk to people who had been evacuated. And at each event, I needed one of those items.
Since temperatures dropped a few months ago, I’ve tried to convince my editor to let me work for a Media News Group paper in Florida until April. No luck. If you see a shivering reporter out there, it’s probably me.