Each new Montgomery County police officer is issued a ceremonial green top coat called a dress blouse that costs $100 and generally is worn only once - when the officer graduates from the police training academy.
That is an example of excess, according to a report released yesterday by the county's office of legislative ovessight.
Indeed the report found that Montgomery County spends more to clothe its police officers than any other Washington area jurisdiction, providing everything from dress shoes to white gloves for its officers.
The report says the county if "overly generous" when it gives more and better clothing to its uniformed officers spending $1,200 to clothe and equip each new officer, while the average expenditure for clothing and equipping an officer in the other jurisdiction is $760.
The county also is liberal in out-fitting uniformed personnel in other departments.In the current fiscal year, the county budgeted $3,600 to purchase uniforms for 24 animal control inspectors in the Department of Environmental Protection. The county also pays for laundering these uniforms.
But the report points out, environmental protection does not require its inspectors to wear these uniforms. A department spokesman said of the 24 inspectors, only 13 wear the uniform regularly.
"The agency acknowledges as we are over-budgeted this year," said spokesman James Kurtz. He said the department is in the process of revising its uniform policy.
But the office of legislative oversight found most examples of waste and overspending in the county Police Department.
Montgomery is the only local jurisdiction to provide dress shoes for its officers, the report says. Each uniformed officer also receives 16 shirts, 12 pairs of trousers, two winter jackets and six neckties. Montgomery County Park Police by comparison, receive 12 shirts, six pairs of trousers, one tie and no dress shoes, according to the report.
The officers can obtain replacements at any time for any parts of their uniform they turn in and also receive free laundering and alterations and shoe repairs.
The report notes that the Police Department recently decided to replace the poplin shirts previously worn by the uniformed officers with wash-and-wear shirts, but the officers have been directed that the new shirts should be dry-cleaned only with the county picking up the tab.
The free laundering and shoe repair service is offered also to plain-clothes police in a policy unique to Montgomery County. In addition, even officers like the police chief and the department's media spokesman, who sometimes have occasion to wear civilian clothes get a clothing allowance and free laundering and shoe repairs.
Chief Robert J. diGrazia could not be reached for comment.
The county spent $914.397 in fiscal 1977 to clothe 6.700 employees but could spend $100,000 less if it changed its uniform policies according to the report.
"I'm not saying there shouldn't be uniform, but Montgomery is obviously going first class," said Andrew Mancini who compiled the report.