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Dougherty deputies to sport new uniforms

Photo by Jennifer Parks

Photo by Jennifer Parks

ALBANY, Ga. -- Beginning in January, the folks at the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office will start to look a little different.

After more than a quarter of a century donning brown uniforms, the department's deputies will soon be switching to gray.

"One of my goals when I first took office (in 2008) was to replace the uniforms, but I wasn't able to," said Sheriff Kevin Sproul. "We are very pleased (with the change) from an agency standpoint."

When the current uniform vendor was unable to get a shade of brown that was consistent, officials decided to change vendors and go with a different color. The money for the uniforms will be coming from confiscated funds.

"There is no cost to taxpayers," Sproul said.

The change will take effect on midnight Jan. 1.

"We do want people to know these are sheriff's deputies," Sproul said. "Over time, I think it will be a good fit."

The color is not the only thing changing. The patch on the arm will also look a little different.

"The patch we had was very traditional, but we felt the new badge would represent the agency better," said Col. John Ostrander, Dougherty County Jail administrator. "It reflects a more positive image."

The patch will still maintain a six-point star shape. An American flag, which was previously worn on the officer's lapel, has been added to it.

The full set-up costs roughly $100. Deputies receive a $275 clothing allowance, which allows them to purchase a week's supply without paying for everything out-of-pocket.

"We are also looking at adding a hat," Sproul said.

The sheriff added that the old uniforms will end up going for a good cause once they have been retired.

"We will donate them to small, rural counties," Sproul said. "It will really aid them."

A benefit of the new attire from an officer's standpoint is that it is machine washable, but that is not the only good thing about it.

"It's an exciting change," said Lt. Mickey Bradford. "It will increase not just morale, but it reflects a positive image.

"We want to be as professional as possible."