Gene Bryson : Wyoming sheriff’s deputy quits after cowboy boots, hats banned

Gene Bryson : Wyoming sheriff's deputy quits after cowboy boots, hats banned

Gene Bryson, Wyoming sheriff’s deputy said he decided to retire instead of submit to the new sheriff’s ban on wearing cowboy hats and boots in uniform.

Sublette County Sheriff Stephen Haskell, who has been newly elected, said the changes in the uniforms were for safety and consistency.

“I’m very much for the Western way of life and the look. And that’s the way I dress,” Sheriff Haskell told the Casper Star-Tribune.

But, he added: “All law enforcement is supposed to be professional and look the same.”

Sheriff Haskell is requiring deputies to wear black trousers, a tan shirt, black boots and a black cap.

He argues that cowboy boots are slippery on ice and cowboy hats can blow away in Wyoming’s blustery wind.

However, one man was too fond of his Western attire – and chose retirement instead of a makeover.

“When you take away my individuality, I don’t want to stay,” said deputy Gene Bryson, a 28-year department veteran.

The 70-year-old grew up on a ranch and has spent a lifetime in law enforcement.

Early retirement will allow him more time to focus on a gun store he owns in the town of Marbleton, he said.

Sublette County, a sprawling, rural area that covers nearly 5,000 square miles (12,950sq km) but is home to only 10,000 residents employing 68 deputies.