New Uniforms for the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

January 4, 2014 12:09 pm · 59 comments


Contra Costa County Sheriff David O. Livingston has approved a change in uniform for the Office of the Sheriff. The Office has now begun the transition from traditional tan colored uniforms to a more contemporary black color.

Part of the reason for the change is cost-savings for staff. The tan uniform is a specific dye color that is unique and difficult to obtain. By comparison, the black uniform will be more widely available and less expensive in the long run.

“We asked the uniformed personnel for feedback on the new uniform,” said Sheriff David O. Livingston. “Nearly 70% of them approved of the change. And after a year long process of searching for a new uniform, and then testing it in the field, we’ve come up with a uniform that is high quality, professional in appearance, and easy to obtain.”

The uniform change will be accomplished with no impact on the taxpayers. Deputy Sheriffs and other uniformed personnel receive a monthly uniform allowance and are required to pay for their own uniforms.

The transition will take several months. Staff could begin to wear the new uniforms on January 1, 2014. All uniformed personnel will be required to transition into the new uniforms by July 1, 2014.

photo credit: Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Sounds like a good idea. January 4, 2014 at 12:18 PM

I like the look of the darker uniforms, plus they are harder to see in the dark for the officers protection.

Tree Farm January 4, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Got rid of the white cars, ditched the tans….. Seems Sheriff Livingston wants his new place to look more and more like his old place! Pretty soon, it will be called the Contra Costa Police Department.

Mr. Moses January 4, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Hmm…first “Part of the reason for the change is cost-savings for staff. ”

and then, “The uniform change will be accomplished with no impact on the taxpayers. ”

OK, then who pocketed the savings? No impact to the taxpayer doesn’t only mean when it would cost us more money. If there is a “cost-savings,” then refund the money back. Did the sheriffs get a reduction in their “uniform pay?” And if so, whose department is getting the money if it isn’t being refunded back to the taxpayer?

On another note, sheriffs shouldn’t tease me with red finger nails…unless of course they brought their whip with them. I can be such a bad boy.

Broke January 4, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Ummmm… hello… The uniform allowance “requirement” is built in to the salaries/paid for by the taxpayer. Are the present uniforms falling apart? If the black ones are less expensive will there be a reduction in the allowance $$$$ amount?

Uhh!!! January 4, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Not sure not being seen in the dark will
aid or protect them, think about it.
Chasing a perp with all dark clothing, oops,
Officer shot by friendly fire, hope not.
Does seem to be the way of all P.D.’s.

Dorothy January 4, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Black is fine for cold weather but tan would be better for summer. Can they keep both? Does look nice and official.

Anonymous January 4, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Wait until it’s 100 degrees out. CHP has no problem getting one color uniform. Neither does AZ Highway Patrol.

KJ January 4, 2014 at 1:17 PM

They are going to be hot in the summer — black absorbs heat, while lighter colors radiate heat.

ConcordMike January 4, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Nice to see change. Bunch of moronic comments here.
Dark uniform against a light background stands out just as much as a light uniform against a dark background.
Bottom line is the cost effectiveness and minimizing the losses the department already loses on uniforms.

eric January 4, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Never was a fan of tan police uniforms, I’m happy to see the darker uniforms, and the new black/white cars.

J. January 4, 2014 at 1:53 PM

They should both have left hand over right. Right, GoGo?

Ted K., SuperMax January 4, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Black is more menacing… authoritarian.

But it’s gonna suck for ’em if they have to stand on the road under a hot summer sun for extended periods of time……. But maybe crash and accident scenes will clear that much faster.

Mimi (original) January 4, 2014 at 2:05 PM

It’s too bad they couldn’t just find an alternative mfg for the tan uniforms. I like knowing that when I see an officer in a tan uni that s/he is a sheriff. A pox in the new uniforms!

Peanut Gallery January 4, 2014 at 2:35 PM

@Mr Moses
Your an idiot

truth January 4, 2014 at 2:39 PM

I honestly think highway patrol uniforms are needed for some reflection on for motorcycle riding police.

Princess January 4, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Mmmm, some of this male contra costa sheriff look super hot, I wish I can bring one home and give them some love:))

Babs January 4, 2014 at 3:24 PM

and people wonder why cops retire early or go out on disability….can you imagine sitting and driving a car all day with all that equipment on your back?

A lot of the Sheriffs uniforms January 4, 2014 at 3:36 PM

look awfully ragged and many of the shirts colors don’t match the colors of the trousers. I can see the need for the change. If the uniforms are less expensive and easier to find, the officers will be able to maintain a better wardrobe and that’s another positive. I see nothing but good news in this report. So many sour people, yuck.

vindex January 4, 2014 at 3:46 PM

I think it looks good. However, I think the Sheriff has a big problem. He said “More than 70%” like the change. That means probably 29% didn’t. That’s a big percentage for a uniform change. Such a minor issue and the deputies are flexing their muscle a bit. 29% is a big NO vote. Sheriff, you have some morale issues.

Johnny Bones January 4, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Wow. After 100 years an employer changes something and everyone throws a fit. What does it matter to anyone other than those who have to wear them?

@Vindex…. When a Sheriff or Chief of Police cares enough to take into consideration what a majority of employees want it shows progressive thinking. Remember when your boss told you they were changing the secret Big Mac recipe? You complained that your voice wasn’t heard! Why don’t you thank the Sheriff for being progressive and making it a team decision instead of criticizing.

Just remember that Police Officers and Deputies are doing a job that we were all too afraid to do. Quit criticizing them and what they wear.

TinFoiler January 4, 2014 at 5:42 PM

LAME. “Hard to get TAN dye” Ha ha ha – I’ve Heard it ALL!!!!
Now they match the rest of the Darth Vader Gestapos.
Heil Hitler

Bob Brittain January 4, 2014 at 6:08 PM

I think the department should wear the uniforms they like best, especially if they are well-made and affordable. Sorry that the trolls came out again with their ill-considered commentary. Standard for Claycord.

Mr. Moses January 4, 2014 at 6:16 PM

@Peanut Gallery
Ah, the genius Moron who insults a person’s intelligence with the infamous “your.” Everything I said was solid. You aren’t perchance the lady in the photograph with the red finger nails? If so, then your comment makes sense. Sorry to embarrass you. Anyway sorry if reading comprehension and logical reasoning isn’t your strong point. Picking out the obvious BS in the article is what every citizen should be able to do. They tried to put people “at ease” only to show that once the government takes your money, it’s theirs forever! When government saves money it isn’t theirs to pocket.

@Johnny Bones
“Just remember that Police Officers and Deputies are doing a job that we were all too afraid to do. Quit criticizing them and what they wear.” A little presumptuous (and slavish) of you, eh? Everyone grows up wanting to be a cop. Tons of people are lined-up. I personally know dozens of people who want to be a cop but can’t get a position because so few positions are open. Some of these guys are ex military and served in special forces. Police positions are political and familial first and second, everyone else third. In California, pay is outstanding. I respect cops, but I don’t put them on a pedestal.

Oh, “What does it matter to anyone other than those who have to wear them?” Are you serious? They work for me. Sorry if that offends you. As a citizen I do care what my employees wear to work and how they represent my community. In this case, I don’t have a problem except for the monetary aspect. I know, civic virtue, is so pre-decadent West. Sorry.

Mr. Hankey January 4, 2014 at 6:31 PM

@Peanut Gallery

“You’re” welcome.

anon January 4, 2014 at 7:38 PM

Bond. Officer Bond, I presume.

The Theorist January 4, 2014 at 7:52 PM

Great! They can funnel the savings into more para-militarization of civilian law enforcement!
50% of polled military personnel said they would not follow orders to shoot riotous civilians … guess who has no problems killing civilians in cold blood? Your police dept. and sheriffs with the high powered rifles and armored vehicles.
Once the Democrat congress critters repeal the 22nd amendment, we all will wish we hadn’t let our 2nd amendment rights slip away so easily.

Stephen Williams January 4, 2014 at 8:10 PM

Great to see a new look here. Why all the negative comments about the uniform color? LAPD and 99% of the police agencies in California wear Midnight Navy Blue. A shade off from BLACK. Contra Costa joins Sacramento, Solano, Calaveras, Yolo, Sutter, Plumas, Sierra, and San Joaquin Counties going to black uniforms. San Mateo County wears LAPD Midnight Navy uniforms that replaced their powder blue duds. The tan uniforms didn’t match as it’s hard to match up two light colored garments.The CHP is now the ONLY agency to wear solid tan in the State of California. The tan uniforms had the “Barney Fife” look to them, they were after all adopted in 1954. They are no more “hot” in the Summer than any other uniform especially when wearing body armor.

@ Mr. Moses January 4, 2014 at 8:37 PM

Very well said. YOU’RE spot on.

Frank C. January 4, 2014 at 8:46 PM

The article is true . Tan dye lots were getting less consistent, while the black is much more consistent. They did a 6 month wear test, so the heat issue was also considered. They can start wearing them right away, but all deputies have to be wearing them by mid-2014.

Tinfoiler, why don’t you get the facts before you spout off with your inane comments? Go ask the local uniform stores…. Your comments sure don’t reflect any level of intelligence.

Vindex, I would like to know how you came up with a morale problem when 29% voted no. Why don’t you call the DSA and ask them before spouting off with a know-it-all attitude?

Tree farm – more SOs are going to the black/white uniforms and patrol cars. It’s more consistent and recognizable.

Moses – you are an idiot…another one spouting off opinions with no facts at hand. There is a cost savings…the deputies get a standard uniform allowance each year, but this will allow them to purchase (approx) an extra shirt or pair of pants each year. When that’s all you wear for patrol, they can get pretty ragged in a short time. You don’t like it? Send a letter to the Sheriff complaining about it. Otherwise, stfu.

Theorist – sounds like another idiot…. Been arrested a few times? The SO doesn’t have “high-powered rifles”… The patrol rifle uses a 5.56/.223 cartridge…..hardly high power. Also, pray tell what “armored vehicles” the CCCSO has…. Also, your generalization about them “having no problems in killing civilians in cold blood” is a little far out. What vast amount of research have you personally done that supports that opinion?

JudgeWhoppner January 4, 2014 at 9:54 PM

so…. the woman should wear a skirt and the man shorts? That should keep them really “cool” on all accounts.

Mr. Moses January 4, 2014 at 10:14 PM

I used the facts from the article and applied what is called “Critical Thinking” to them in order to generate a valid conclusion. You may not agree with it, but because you do not agree with it doesn’t make me an “idiot.” You do understand that right? Hey, a bright bulb like yourself surely does! Also, you added facts (or were they invented facts of your own) about buying extra clothes with the “savings.” Again it doesn’t alter the conclusion because a bright bulb like yourself understood that the cops were buying whatever they needed anyway. Therefore, whether it is for “extra” cloths or potatoes, this “savings” is a de facto raise then. Which was my fear to begin with; ergo, you have no basis to label anything I said “idiotic” since you drew the same conclusion. Or, oh wait, maybe that is why it is idiotic…you made the same point…I see now, yes, yes. My bad.

This is the sentence that really gets me though: “You don’t like it? Send a letter to the Sheriff complaining about it. Otherwise, stfu.”

THEY WORK FOR ME…Frank. I will NEVER “stfu.” YOU are clearly servile on top of your intellectual deficiencies. YOU have the type of personality that is truly dangerous. You are unable to think for yourself and so need a massa to think for you.

Seriously bro, you have a dangerous mind. Wake up. Throw your Precious back into the river and reclaim what is left of your mind.

Johnny Bones January 4, 2014 at 10:50 PM

@Mr. Moses

They’re not your employees. As a taxpayer you don’t own law enforcement , you don’t own the vehicles, you don’t own the building they work in, you own nothing. If you still believe they are “your” employees then you should approach an officer and tell him/her to do something. You should take their keys and drive their patrol car. You should try and enter you building in which they work. You’re so far away from being their boss that you actually have zero influence over what they do and how they do it. Under your theory of “since I pay taxes I own them”, wouldn’t it make sense that officers pay taxes as well so they should be able to do whatever they want? Dress whatever way they want? Drive whatever vehicle they want? It’s just not a reasonable theory. Loosen the tin fool hat and think before you speak.

As far as you having many friends who are lined up to be cops but there are no jobs, I have a feeling that’s not entirely truthful. There are many many openings. I also noticed that you didn’t mention that you were in line to become an officer. My point is proven. You’d rather criticize from afar than do the job they’re brave enough to do.

anon January 4, 2014 at 11:58 PM

A large reason police departments have been transitioning to black attire is the uniform is more intimidating. I really doubt this is ultimately about cost savings.

Tree Farm January 5, 2014 at 12:57 AM

@ Frank C.

For the record, I think all SO’s should be in green and tan. Also for the record, I think Martinez PD has the best looking cars around, by a long shot. I know I voted “no” to change to black and white when I worked there. I think flashing blue and red lights is the recognizable trait that will be most…….recognized.

@Johnny Bones

While Mr. Moses is off base quite a bit, he is right (probably just by happenstance) about the hiring. There are a few opening, yes. But there is hundreds of applicants for each opening. And the ones who get hired first always have a family member or close friend working there. Seen it plenty of times, with my own eyes.

Big Fred January 5, 2014 at 1:15 AM

@ Mr. Moses-
I’m not taking sides in this, I agree that it should equate in a cut for the tax payer. However I believe that “Johnny Bones” has a darn good point about your argument. Please go back to the drawing board because I am excited to see your next argument. And in all seriousness I am enthralled by this debate as everyone seems to disagree with everyone else! It’s every man for himself out there! A dog eat dog world! Madness!!

P.S. I like the new uniforms! Makes me more afraid of them than when I see those desert storm uniforms! Yuck! Has tan ever looked good on anyone? I more of a winter personally… 🙂

Sorineya January 5, 2014 at 7:27 AM

I’m new here and after reading everyone’s thoughts and feelings on this topic I think it’s safe to say, we all appreciate the work that is done for our safety and our loved ones safety. Is the system as we would like it to be or always running at its best, no probably not. However they dress won’t make anyone a better person or a better shooter for that matter. If everyone of us at the end of the day can look at ourselves in the mirror and honestly say, today I did my very best for myself and all those around me, and live with the results it has created, that is the bottom line.

chubby January 5, 2014 at 7:42 AM

I prefer that city cops look like city cops and deputies look like deputies, but oh well. What I’d really like to see is uniforms for some other public agencies, like bow ties and suspenders for the DMV, or powdered wigs for council members.

Mr. Moses January 5, 2014 at 8:02 AM

Tough guy, I did my time in the military. I served (and continue to serve) my country and community. It is funny that you actually think, you really think that I or anyone else is *afraid* to be cop and a SHERIFF for that matter. What a weird ego. It really shows how the LEO community and its hanger-ons think of themselves. Scary.

Anyway, I work in IT, doing work far more valuable than any sheriff. See, I have one of those STEM degrees. You know, according to the so called experts, I actually ADD value to the economy rather than having to be funded by it like all government institutions.

As to them being my employees, are you really this daft?? Please tell me that you are some teenager who idolizes cops or something. You really have a black/white mind.

As a citizen I delegate authority to my elected representatives. I also delegate authority to law enforcement to police my neighbors and myself. We, as a society, give them great power…some of our power. At anytime, we can change the laws, give or take power back. They work for us. People who work for you are your employees. A cop arrests me or writes me a ticket because I “told” him to arrest me when I broke the law as part of the laws I have added, taken away, or agreed to follow as a citizen. It is the Social Contract.

Dude, this is democracy 101. How you cannot understand this is baffling and scary. You actually don’t think that your LEO work for you, wow. You are a slave. In that head of yours, LEO is simply the Overseer out in the fields. Yooz sura fraid o’ dat whip! And so you take the opportunity to lick the ba11s of your massa’s representative whenever you can.

@Tree Farm
How could I just be correct by happenstance? How could I just guess that? You want to agree with me, but you feel that the clique is against me so even though you agreed with me you did everything you could to distance yourself from me. You do realize how that makes you look right? Nothing I have said so far has been outrageous. The “other side” is just arguing with emotion. It is quite pathetic considering many of these people are probably in their 30’s, 40’s and may be in positions that give them access to weapons. You know I hear a good place for those types is working as a Prison Guard. I believe they have nice cheap green uniforms and make 6 figures. Win-win.

Frank C. January 5, 2014 at 8:32 AM

@moses #31…

They “work for you”… And you refuse to send a letter complaining about it? What (tiny) balls in hiding behind a keyboard….

So if they “work for you”, you should be able to tell the dept what to do. So do it…. Ya don’t do it, then that’s calked hypocrisy.

“Critical thinking?” You need to get all of the facts!

Btw, I am not your “bro”.

Happ January 5, 2014 at 8:46 AM

The tans sucked based on a family members(deputy) opinion. The shirts and pants never seemed to match color wise and showed dirt. The new lighter weight fabric of all uniforms are much more comfortable but the wash and wear tans do not clean as well as the dark colors.
Yes there is a savings to both the employee and taxpayer. Employees buy their uniforms and the black are easier to find, more vendors carry them, which means there is competition among vendors. In the past the only place a deputy could buy their gear was at Concord Uniform. The department buys uniforms when they are damaged while on duty, hence the taxpayer saves too. My guess is that based on the number of new staff they are the ones upset as the probably just bought most of their gear.

Ask any older deputy about the goofy past rules about uniforms and most applaud the changes the Sheriff has put in place.

In my opinion all law enforcement in patrol function should be wearing the same color and driving a standard black and white vehicle.

Rick January 5, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Last time I checked CHP Officers pants and shirts are two different colors. Ask one.

How Dumb January 5, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Its like puting a silk shirt on a Pig

Mustang Sally January 5, 2014 at 2:22 PM

My first thought was, ugh! Black’s going to feel so much hotter in the broiling Claycord sun. I don’t know how they do it with all the other equipment either. Then they go and do a dangerous and sometimes horrifying and thankless job. My hat’s off to ’em.

@ Mr. Moses January 5, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Speaking of ego, as soon as you said my job is more important then theirs you lost all credibility. Sounds like just a bunch of sour grapes… What the matter tried and couldn’t hack the SFCQ? Couldn’t pass the background for cops? You reservist blue falcons give me gas.

JoeMama January 5, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Black, Tan, who cares? I still feel like a hostage every time I have to stare at a Sheriff’s uniform while having my time wasted on Jury duty

Tree Farm January 5, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Glad your civic duty is a waste of time Joe Mama. Hopefully you get wrongfully accused of a crime and stand trial. Perhaps you’ll get a jury as apathetic as yourself. That might change your tune.

. January 5, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Wow….Moses works in IT, which is “…. far more valuable than any sheriff.” I guess you need to learn what constitutes “value” as you can’t quantify or put a price on everything.

Then according to your logic, the military is less valuable than IT. Somehow, I doubt you served honorably in the military…..”tough guy….”

Where did you get your degree…..from a pack of matches? Don’t try to overinflate your own self-worth….

Mr. Pink January 6, 2014 at 10:03 AM

If they’re happy and it’s not costing me any more in taxes, then what do I care?

Jaded January 6, 2014 at 12:32 PM

“receive a monthly uniform allowance”…. WHY?

Pay for your own damn uniforms

Tree Farm January 6, 2014 at 6:47 PM


Problem with cops much? California law says that if an employer requires an employee wear a uniform, the employer must pay for it. That’s why. Now, go be angry somewhere else.

Antler January 6, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Tree Farm at #51 ~ ~ ~ NEGATIVE. Airline captains, flight attendants, etc. also must buy their own uniforms. My husband had to buy his Marine Corps dress blues, medals, ribbons, etc……don’t know about the regular uniform, but I do think the military paid for the flight suits. (He’s into a football game right now, or I’d ask him.) I suspect the same is true for many employees in all kinds of work.

Uniforms are VERY expensive! In some contracts there might be a uniform allowance in lieu of a larger salary. e.g. In the case of airline employees, there might be certain stand-by flight privileges….but in return for such perks, the salary is lowered.

Atticus Thraxx January 6, 2014 at 8:38 PM

Jesus, you guys get pretty worked up over police uniforms. Heard that’s a fetish for some people. Whatever. Who am I to judge?

Tree Farm January 6, 2014 at 8:40 PM

@52 Antler


I am currently on active duty in the military. I get a specific allotment each month for uniforms. Yes, we “buy” our uniforms out of pocket, but we are given a monthly allotment for maintenance and replacement.

Regardless of that, the military employer is technically in a different state. Like I mentioned, CALIFORNIA LAW states employers ust pay for the uniform. It is in the Labor Code Section 2802, if you don’t believe me. Do you think the pimple faced teenager at McDonalds bought his own uniforms? How about the employees at Safeway (aprons, name tags, etc)? Again, according to California law, the employer is required to provide a uniform when one is required to be worn.

Antler January 6, 2014 at 8:47 PM

But it’s your TURN to be the judge! 🙂

Antler January 6, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Thanks, Tree Farm. In the meantime, I had run a search using, “In California, do employers have to pay for their employees’ uniforms?”. There are some fascinating cases and examples in there, but the link is a kazillion miles long so it’s best to let your computer just pull it up. Long story short, the correct answer to the question is “It depends.”

Your monthly uniform maintenance allotment is INSTEAD OF an actual cash salary payout. And remember, you are not “given” it. You “earn” it, am I right???!!!! 😉 I remember our granddaughter mentioning that her Marine Dress Blues jacket (coat?…tunic?…sorry, I don’t know the correct term) was a little more than $300, and then she had to buy insignia, ribbons, etc……well, and then she had to buy the bottom half of the uniform, of course, and the cover, and gloves, special shoes, etc.!

Anyway, I think those black uniforms look spiffy.

WIlliam January 6, 2014 at 9:47 PM

You hope someone gets wrongfully accused of a crime? maybe you should re-evaluate your civic responsibilities.

Tree Farm January 6, 2014 at 10:43 PM


Hey, thanks for letting that one go right over your head.


Every medal or ribbon I have been awarded has been given to me, with the citation describing said award. If I wanted another medal or lost the little ribbon, I had to go buy a new one. But that’s what I get $40 a month for. Again though, this is comparing apples to oranges. The military is a federal entity, not subject to California business codes. The sheriffs department and police departments ARE subject to California law 🙂

Antler January 7, 2014 at 12:33 AM

Tree Farm, you might want to refer to the search question I gave and do some more reading. It depends entirely on how the contract is written. If ones uniform is provided by the employer, then the employee will be taking home less money per hour…….one doesn’t really get it both ways. Contract!

Re medals, the problem could be the span of years between when my husband served and when you are serving now. He confirmed to me that medals pinned on in ceremony were at no extra charge to him; but for certain other medals and ribbons, he did have to take citations/written authorization to the exchange and pay. He did not have to pay for plaques, etc, awarded in thanks for whatever….and in our opinion at the time (but perhaps this is not the case now), far too much of the defense budget was spent on such banquets and awards. As a Marine aviator, he performed his duty well; and that should have been the bottom line instead of a sort of Boy Scout badge-work scenario……at least that’s the way he and I felt about it.

Well, this has gone far off subject, and I apologize for my part in that.

J. January 10, 2014 at 9:07 AM

I saw one of the new black uniforms today on a CCC Sheriff. With his black windbreaker, and his black golf hat, he looked like a Cadet. Just sayin’

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