For 36 years, Chesterfield County Police have worn green and black uniforms.
As of last week, patrol officers were given an alternative: a black uniform made of polyester and cotton infused with charcoal. The fabric stretches, and the charcoal wicks sweat away in order to reduce heat. It also has some water-repellant qualities.
The new uniforms are considered a utility uniform, while the green and black will be used as a dress uniform and for administrators.
Police Chief Jeffrey S. Katz said the department’s uniforms had not changed since 1983.
The new uniforms are more durable and more breathable and machine washable, Katz said, adding that Chesterfield is the first police department in the nation to use the new uniforms.
“Uniforms are our most basic piece of equipment, and it’s time for an upgrade,” he said in a video posted on the department’s Facebook page.
The history of the department’s green and black uniforms dates to the Prohibition Era, Katz said. During that time, some people were determined to have their drinks at any cost and homemade alcohol operations were spreading throughout the county. Police began using the green and black uniforms to sneak up on the moonshine stills that were set up in the woods, he said.
Katz noted that the department will usually be able to replace the new uniforms within 30 days as opposed to three to seven months previously.
The cost is $55.46 for a shirt and $52.06 for pants, which will be paid for from the department’s budget, police department spokeswoman Liz Caroon said.