Police warm up to new coats

Woodstock police officer Stuart Leake shows off one of the department's new winter coats. Rich Cooley/Daily

The new winter coats issued to Woodstock police at the end of last week came just in time to help officers fend off the arrival of wintry temperatures.

The old coats worn by town officers held up well in last year’s harsh conditions, but they were clearly ready to be replaced, Chief Eric Reiley said Wednesday.

Some of the old coats were more than 30 years old and being worn by their second owners, who inherited them from retired officers, Reiley said. The newest coats in the department were seven or eight years old before last week.

The new coats got a severe test with the 18-degree temperature that greeted Woodstock residents on the way to work and school early Wednesday morning.

“This morning was probably the coldest day of the season,” Reiley said. “One of our officers was helping out kids at the elementary school, and he was fine. Only his fingers and ears got cold.”

The department bought 16 coats, one for each officer, at a cost of $185 each, according to Reiley.
The purchase money came from the department’s asset forfeiture fund, “so there’s no impact to taxpayers or the (town) budget,” Reiley said.

Asset forfeiture funds are created and maintained by the seizure of property and currency deemed by police agencies to be associated with criminal activity.

The coats are made in Texas by Forum-Direct, which markets them as a two-in-one piece of outerware useable in spring and winter.

An outer shell protects to temperatures down to 40 degrees at which point an inner line can be added. Reiley described the coats as cut to “Ike length,” an allusion to the kind of outerware worn by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower during World War II.

Reiley said the coat is designed to allow officers to remain comfortable as they switch back and forth between the warmth of their heated vehicles and the frosty outdoors.

“This type of coat system, it’s breathable so you can wear it throughout the day,” Reiley said. “You don’t get hot, but when you go outside, you’re still warm.”

Reiley said the coats also have the advantage of allowing officers easy access to equipment belted around their waists.

The department tested various coats last year when the region was hit with some of the coldest temperatures in recent years.

Reiley said the model chosen by the officers received “great reviews” by the officers.

“We thought what better year to test a coat than last year,” Reiley added.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com