If you've seen any Audrain County deputies out patrolling lately, you may have noticed something different.
The deputies are sporting new uniforms and have traded in their brown and tan colors, worn since the 1980s, for a charcoal gray ensemble.
"We've been looking into changing colors and have been working with the uniform company for a while, and we all agreed unanimously on charcoal gray. And, it does look sharp," Sheriff Stuart Miller announced Thursday. The new department uniform, he said, is charcoal gray shirts, black pants (gray stripes up each pant leg), with black ties and a black hats.
While some deputies are already sporting the new digs, Miller said there are some still waiting for theirs.
"The reserve and patrol division and court bailiffs have already started wearing their uniforms. The jail division uniforms will be ordered after the first of the year," Miller said.
Department uniforms were traditionally purchased by deputies using the department's $600 uniform allowance that is offered in intervals of $300 twice a year – once in June and once in December "to help keep the uniforms looking good," the sheriff said. From now on, Miller said the uniforms will be purchased through the department budget and that "everyone in the department is on board with that decision."
The cost of each uniform can vary between $200- $300, depending on what is being ordered. Whatever the costs, Miller pointed out that it's not going to cost the county any more or less to pay for it through the budget. He said the department's arm patches have been slightly changed as well.
Miller said the public's response has been "positive."
"Be it from residents of the county seeing our officers while out on report, or by one of the lawyers at the courthouse, we're receiving good compliments from the public about the new look, and that makes us feel good," Miller said. In purchasing the new uniforms, he said the office tried several different styles to replace the old ones, which were challenging to obtain.
The new uniforms were approved in August, and staff started wearing them last week.