Since 1987, officers have worn gray shirts and navy trousers. On Friday, their uniform will change to midnight blue trousers and shirts. About 43 officers will be affected by the change, according to the department.
The change was prompted soon after Chief Robert Merchant took charge of the department last May as a way to boost morale. Merchant formed a committee comprised of employees from various work groups that were tasked with presenting a new uniform combination for approval.
“When I started May 31, I made a commitment to interview all of the employees and during the employee interviews it became a topic of discussion by many employees as to the color and quality of the uniform,” Merchant said.
Apparently, the quality of the uniform material was seen by officers as less than desirable and the color somewhat outdated.
“I think more than anything they just didn’t like the color combination and they were looking for a switch,” Merchant said.
Merchant said the midnight navy blue uniform color is common among departments throughout the nation, especially at the Los Angeles Police Department. “That’s where you hear the term LAPD blue,” he said.
The cost for the uniform change is roughly $18,000, according to Merchant. The funding comes out of the department’s annual budget, he said.
“Personally, I think they look much more professional,” the police chief said of the change.
A number of other changes were also made the uniform, said department spokesman Det. Candy Worthy.
“In addition to the color change, the committee changed the color of the shoulder patch and all badges/name plates for officers will be silver,” Worthy said. “The design of the shoulder patch will remain the same reflecting the tradition of the CPD.”