By Ashley Graves
The Cullman Times
It's out with the old, and in with the new at the Cullman Police Department.
At least for the time being.
Temporarily, several officers are sporting a new, more casual on-duty uniform in an effort to find something a tad more comfortable than the old black polyester-blend suit they’re used to wearing. And in addition, keep up with the changes taking place at other law enforcement agencies around the state.
"Our goal is to keep a professional appearance, but at the same time, keep the officers that are on a 12-hour shift protected and comfortable," Assistant Chief of Police Craig Green said. "We want to make their job as easy as possible."
After receiving several requests to make the switch to the more casual attire of khaki cargo pants and a cotton-blend short-sleeved polo shirt , earlier this summer, Green gave Sgt. Todd Chiaranda and Adam Walker the task of contacting several area departments to get a look at what they were doing with uniforms.
"When we contacted some of them, we didn’t realize how many had changed over,” Chiaranda said. “Really the main difference is the material. The older ones retained a lot of heat, and with these, they're a lot cooler, a lot more comfortable, and a lot more durable. They’re a lot more cost effective for the city as well."
Another positive of the switch Walker said is the durability. With the traditional uniform, he said it had usually two years of wear to it, depending on the level of activity. Green added the department has had several ruined in foot pursuits.
“One trip running through the woods, and it’s shot,” Green said.
So far the new look has been received well throughout the department. It debuted roughly a month ago, and several more officers are expected to make the transition by the first of the year. Green said the department is giving it a 12 month trial period before making a final decision.
“Right now, we’re doing this to see what patrol likes and dislikes about it,” Green said.
If the decision is made to keep the more casual look, Green added the traditional uniform wouldn’t be totally abandoned. He said officers would still be required to maintain one of them for parades and ceremonies and such.
“Some are stuck in the old because of tradition,” Green said. “But I’m for what’s more practical. It’s just important that we be open minded about it.”
* Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org