Trustees OK new uniforms for police

CALCUTTA — Officers with the St. Clair Township Police Department soon will be wearing new attire after earning approval from township trustees.

A motion approved Tuesday will allow the PD to purchase new navy blue-colored uniforms for members of the patrol division, totaling 13 officers.

Police Chief Donald Hyatt described the new uniforms as being similar to those worn by the Los Angeles Police Department, and will include a new shirt, a pair of duty pants which are cargo pants and are intended for work, a pair of Class A pants to be worn for court and other functions, and a different ballistic vest, to which Hyatt noted will provide more room for the officers to work.

“The guys are wearing their vests, of course,” Hyatt said. “But this particular uniform, the vest–instead of being underneath your shirt, which is uncomfortable after a period of time–it’s in a shell that looks exactly like a shirt that’s worn over top, and you can’t tell. So it’s more user-friendly as a ballistic vest.”

Hyatt said the uniform cost will be divided between the police department and the St. Clair Township Patrolman’s Association, the police union, He reported total cost at roughly $10,000 to $11,000. Hyatt requested $5,000 from the trustees, but added that the price could be lower.

“I told the union I would pay for half because I wanted to do this, and so when I change something like that, I’ll foot the ball, and they’ll pay the other half,” Hyatt said.

Hyatt added that several police departments throughout the state–including Cleveland, Akron and Toledo–have already switched to this type of uniform, and more will be gearing toward that uniform direction.

Trustees approved the motion to purchase the uniforms, but requested an exact price from Hyatt along with a visual as to what the uniforms look like.

Also in police-related matters, Hyatt and trustees discussed the Operation Street Smart seminar which was held last Thursday in the Beaver Local High School auditorium. The seminar was a program that informed adults of law enforcement agencies’ latest attempts to crack down on the war on drugs, an also provided statistics regarding drugs and drug abuse.

The program–a collaborative initiative between the Franklin County Sheriff’s office’s Special Investigations Unit and D.A.R.E. – also showed the nearly 200 in attendance how drugs are being hidden and showed hundreds of everyday household items and how drugs can be concealed in those items.

Trustee James Hall mentioned that he was very impressed with the presentation, and commented on the guest speakers — Lt. Shawn Bain and Sgt. Michael Powell, both from the Franklin County Sheriff’s office — and the provided information.

“I see that they had a captive audience, because when these gentlemen spoke, you were listening to everything they were saying,” Hall said.