BENNINGTON -- The Bennington County Sheriff's Department has gone green. Spruce green, that is.
Sheriff Chad D. Schmidt said the department's black and gray uniforms have all been replaced with spruce green ones. The change came April 15, when the department switched to short sleeves for the anticipated, but absent, warmer weather.
Up until July 1, 2013, all Vermont sheriff's departments had to have uniforms approved by the Vermont Attorney General's Office, which called for gray pants and black shirts. The legislature changed the law, Schmidt said, allowing for the change.
There were two reasons for switching, he said. One was cost. Schmidt said a shirt and pants in the spruce green color can be bought for under $80. Before, the gray pants alone cost that much.
The department has purchased 90 pairs of spruce green pants and 93 short-sleeved shirts for about $4,000. He said long sleeves and jackets will be bought for the winter. He plans to donate or sell the old uniforms to other departments.
The department buys deputies their uniforms as they are hired. Full-time deputies get three sets, and part-timers get one or two, depending on their hours.
A problem with the old pants was the company had three shades of gray it would use, thus as deputies were hired or pants replaced, they would cease to be uniform in color.
Schmidt said the spruce green color is also used by deputies in the state of Florida. He said that the local community and deputies have responded to the new uniform colors well, although a few people think they are too green.
"It's the Green Mountain State, green is the color that fits," he said.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.