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City police urge no hathoodsunglasses policies
COLUMBUS, Ohio (5/19/09)--City police are urging the credit unions in Westerville, Ohio, to strictly enforce policies that require members to remove their sunglasses, hats or hoods when entering to avoid potential robberies. Suzanne McCann, vice president of sales and operations at CME FCU in Columbus, Ohio, told The Columbus Dispatch Friday that she witnessed a robbery at the credit union. The robber wore a hat and sunglasses, she said. CME has a similar “no hats, sunglasses” policy that has been enforced at every branch, the newspaper said. Some credit union members weren’t happy with the policy, but McCann said the policy helps keep everyone safe. Although only a few cities nationwide have “no hats” policies, voluntary participation is increasing, Harry Trombitas, an FBI special agent based in Columbus. Most bank robbers want to avoid conflict, and complying with a request to take a hat or sunglasses off could attract more attention, he said. There have been 22 Columbus-area robberies this year, five fewer than this time last year, the newspaper said. Credit unions in several states have adopted “no hat, no hoods, no sunglasses” policies. In 2003, the Delaware Credit Union League provided posters and signs to credit unions that ask member to remove these articles of clothing when they enter the credit union (News Now Aug. 25, 2003). The same year, the Missouri Credit Union Association adopted a similar policy. Other states with “no hats, hoods or sunglasses” rules include South Carolina, Massachusetts and Oklahoma (News Now June 3, 2005). Though the policies have been implemented to increase safety, they have been criticized. Earlier this year, a Muslim woman who was a member of Navy FCU said she was denied service from the credit union for wearing a traditional head scarf as required by her religion. Navy Federal contacted the member and apologized to her (News Now Feb. 4).
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