Fairfax County’s police chief said Sunday he was rescinding a policy banning the American flag and other patches on the outer ballistic vests of officers.

Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. said a subordinate commander had written the directive to create uniformity in the officers’ appearances late last month, but the policy was not approved by him before it was disbursed.

“It goes against department policy. It’s unpatriotic,” Roessler said.

The directive angered many rank-and-file officers, who also felt it was un-American.

Maj. Cindy McAlister and other top brass announced the policy in an e-mail to patrol bureau chiefs. She said officers should only be wearing a cloth name tag on their vests.

The department is in the process of creating guidelines for what officers can wear on the vests. The chief said a flag will be part of the final design.

The department has approved American flag patches and a pin to wear on other parts of the uniform.

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