FARMINGTON — Franklin County deputies' uniforms will be changed to a silver-tan top and brown wool-blend trousers with a black stripe down the side. Deputies will also be provided with better winter jackets.
Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. requested Tuesday that Franklin County commissioners approve the transfer of $10,000 from the department's payroll account to the uniform line.
There is $31,540 left from the elimination of the office manager and sergeant's positions, Nichols said.
Commissioners approved his request Jan. 2 to eliminate those positions and add a second lieutenant position.
Nichols told commissioners that patrol jackets deputies wear are fleece and need to be changed. The patrol parkas are a four-in-one jacket for all seasons. The jackets have layers that can be added or removed depending on the weather, he said.
The cost is $325 each.
The other uniform he wants to change is the 40-year-old polyester pants and shirts.
“The uniforms they are currently using are more expensive than the one I am proposing,” Nichols said.
According to Nichols' calculations, the cost of the current uniforms are $12,569, not including ties, and the uniforms he proposed were $10,335 with ties for 10 deputies.
Each of the 10 deputies will get three pairs of trousers, six shirts — three long-sleeved, three short-sleeved — and a patrol parka.
Nichols calculated he would need patrol parkas for 12 deputies.
The uniforms will have a more professional look, he said.
Nichols said he wants to do this now because buying in bulk saves money.
“This is a dangerous business,” Nichols said, and he wants deputies to be protected.
He also plans to replace detectives’ jackets.
Commissioners voted to approve Nichols’ request.
In another sheriff-related matter, Nichols presented commissioners with a 10-year capital plan for the jail.
Commissioners voted in August 2012, prior to Nichols election, to ask the Board of Corrections to return the jail to a full-service facility rather than a 72-hour holding area. The state changed the county jail’s mission in 2009 as part of a statewide effort to consolidate jails and save money.
Taxpayers in Franklin County continue to raise $1.6 million for the jail with about $600,000 being kept by the state. In 2011-12, the county spent 96.6 percent of the $1.1 million, county Clerk Julie Magoon said in August 2012.
“We can run that jail full time for less money than we are currently paying the state of Maine,” Nichols said.
Former Sheriff Dennis Pike told commissioners the same thing last year.