Deputies with the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office are getting a new look.
Instead of the traditional brown uniforms, deputies are making a transition to black.
“The push started in the jail,” according to Corrections Capt. Adam Wogsland. “The tan pants that go with the brown uniforms were harder to get and more expensive.”
Wogsland said the cost of a pair of pants for the brown uniform was up to $80 or more, while the black uniform pants were between $35 and $50.
The county does not buy the officers’ uniforms, according to Sheriff Brad Hardel. Instead, officers receive a $500 annual uniform allowance which is taxed as income.
“The major reason we’re changing is because of price,” Hardel said.
Hardel noted that an officer’s winter jacket costs about $300, while a pair of boots costs about $200.
The shirt and pants for a brown uniform cost as much as $170, while the same items for a black uniform cost about $100.
Wogsland said there are two classes of uniforms: Class A dress and Class B.
Corrections officers will wear black for both classes of uniforms, while patrol officers may wear black Class B or brown Class A uniforms while on duty.
“When Capt. Todd Rasmussen and I talked, he wanted to keep a Class A dress uniform in brown,” Hardel said. “Counties have always been brown, while cities have been blue. It’s tradition.”
Patrol Officer Pete Bosquez said the new uniforms are more comfortable and more durable.
“These can take a beating, and if we’re out in the rain, the water beads off the fabric,” Bosquez said.
The black uniforms have a Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) style of pants with six pockets.
There is also less medal on the standard black uniforms. Instead of metal badges and bars, the shirts have sewn-on patches.
“They don’t get hung up or ripped off if you’re tussling with somebody,” Bosquez said.
Wogsland said the patches are brass colored for sergeants and captains, while they are silver-colored for deputies.
Also new on the black uniforms are service stripes. Officers’ uniforms will have one stripe for every three years of service in the department.