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Many of these officers carry firearms (they commonly face poachers, many of whom are themselves armed) and other weapons. Mayors decide which weapons to provide them with, but gardes champêtres can purchase, retain and carry a much wider range of weapons than the urban police (police municipale) are allowed.
Their uniforms are not regulated and are at the mayor's discretion; they are traditionally green. The only compulsory element of their dress is a metal plaque or cloth escutcheon bearing the words: "LA LOI", the name of the commune and that of the garde champêtre. They cannot legally wear the dress attributed to the police municipale (marine blue with a clear blue trimming).
They are not under the supervision of the Gendarmerie but under the mayor's, their employer.
From 1791 to 1958 it was compulsory for each rural commune to employ a garde champêtre. Since then many formerly rural communes are heavily or totally urbanised and the number in post has been shrinking every year. A draft law in 2014  provided for the integration of the remaining gardes champêtres with the police municipale and the highway control officers (agents de surveillance de la voie publique) into a new police territoriale.
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