DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) – Since the 1960s police officers in Daphne have worn a light blue uniform, but this month they’re sporting something new.

“The big difference is the material they’re made out of. We went with a more modern, flexible, moisture-wicking type fabric as opposed to our old uniform which was heavy and hot,” said Daphne Police Chief Brian Gulsby.

The new uniforms, which cost roughly $35,000, were purchased using drug seizure money and are expected to last longer than the old shirts. Chief Brian Gulsby says they’ll help a lot during the summer months.

“If the temperatures in the 90s when you get out on the highway and you’re around car engines and the suns reflecting off of windshields and the asphalt is hot enough to fry an egg, then you’re looking at a pretty high ambient temperature and the officers can get overheated pretty quickly,” he explained.

He tells us it’s not only important for his officers to stay cool, he believes they’ll have longterm effects on their overall health. “We also added a load-bearing outer vest for the officers so they can take a little bit of that equipment off their gun belts. A gun belt can weigh anywhere from 25lbs-30lbs and an officer wearing that all day it doesn’t take long to start developing back problems,” said Chief Gulsby.

He says the old uniforms were tough to purchase since more departments are swapping them out for better options. Many of the 56 police officers on the force are already noticing a difference.

“It’s been a big hit so far. A lot of them telling me it was almost immediate relief by just getting 2lbs-3lbs of equipment off that belt,” he added.

Gulsby, who was promoted to chief in January, tells us he’ll continue looking at ways to improve the department, making sure his officers have the best equipment possible to do their job.