Neptune police officers will all be wearing brand new uniforms beginning Jan. 1- a move that will cost taxpayers no additional money.
Police Chief James M. Hunt Jr., who gave a special presentation to the Township Committee at this week’s workshop, said the new uniforms will be purchased for patrolmen, officers, and even special-class police officers.
Hunt said the decision to purchase new uniforms was made after years of discussion, with input from the officers and local Police Benevolent Association, and that more than 90 uniforms will be purchased, enough to accommodate the entire police department.
The new uniforms will not cost taxpayers any money because they are being purchased with money saved through uniform appropriations accumulated in police union contracts over the years.
“There is no new expense to the taxpayer’s of the township,” Chief Financial Officer Michael Bascom said.
Hunt said officer’s uniforms will still have white shirts but all pants will be black with a light-blue stripe down the legs and ties will also be worn, except during the summer months. Two-tone hats to match the uniforms and special hats for the winter will also be purchased.
Hunt said the current uniforms become dirty easily and that the new uniform shirts are better designed to allow officers to wear their protective vests and are made from better materials.
He said uniforms for special officers, who are normally hired for work over the summer, are a mixture of various uniform clothing.
“It has been a mixture for years and years now, with everybody wearing something different,” he said.
Police will all wear black shoes but of various types that best fits the police officer.
“They will be black and shined but they can be of different types,” Hunt said.
Hunt said a review of the police department’s uniform policy is part of the state accreditation process for police departments.
Neptune is seeking special accreditation from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police which allows special insurance savings and other benefits to the police department and township.
“This will be a visual change as we change the police department and move toward accreditation. The timing is right for this,” Committeeman Randy Bishop said.