Despite their stark differences, Sandusky police and runway models actually share a common trait.
No, officers won’t don dresses and strut their stuff on a catwalk anytime soon.
But they’ll be showing off some of the hottest fall fashion attire any stylish police officer, and maybe some magazine cover models, would pine over.
By Nov. 1, commanders want each officer, including full- and part-time personnel, to sport a completely fresh look.
Residents should notice two significant changes, including officers:
• Switching the patch from a lakeside motif to one featuring Lady Justice wedged between a U.S. and Ohio flag. Lady Justice — who’s blindfolded to personify justice isn’t biased — represents the fairness with which justice should be served.
• Swapping gray outfits for a more sleeker look, consisting of dark navy blue tops and pants.
“They look a whole lot more professional, and they’re a whole lot more comfortable,” said Sandusky police Officer Eric Costante, one of several representatives on a board selecting new uniforms and patches.
Talks first surfaced about new uniforms roughly a year ago during a months-long interview process to find Sandusky’s next police chief.
In an interview with committee members, current Sandusky police Chief John Orzech informed officials — who eventually hired him — about his desire to transform his department’s appearance.
Upon becoming chief in April, Orzech polled officers about their desire to change uniforms.
By almost a 4-to-1 margin, officers overwhelmingly wanted a new look.
Orzech then immediately organized an interdepartmental committee, consisting of Costante and others, to design a patch and select new uniforms.
“We went by the guideline of wanting to look sharp and crisp,” Orzech said.
Some officers unofficially debuted the new uniforms during a test period at Ohio Bike Week. During foot patrols, officers received mostly positive feedback from community members regarding the new uniforms.
Other than officers wanting a change, Orzech hopes his department can achieve a higher level of respect from community members by looking more professional.
“Our ultimate goal is to connect with the community,” Orzech said.
Each full-time Sandusky police officer receives $750 a year to purchase items to complete a uniform.
City taxpayers, meanwhile, front almost $34,000 a year so officers can purchase various items, as outlined in a union agreement.
Here’s a sample as to what officers need and how much each accessory costs:
• New long sleeve tops: $47 to $49
• New short sleeve tops: $47 to $49
• Pants without a side zipper pocket: $42
• Pants with a side zipper pocket: $60
• Boots: $100 to $250
• Jackets: $150 for lighter ones and $300 for winter jackets capable of turning into fleeces as well.
• Dress coats: $300
• Hats: unknown
Source: Sandusky police