The Missoula County Sheriff's Office, thanks to a generous donation of nearly $65,000 from Neptune Aviation, is outfitting its personnel with lighter, more comfortable uniforms.

Undersheriff Jason Johnson told KGVO News that the new uniforms will be officially debuted on Sunday, June 28, one of the hottest days of the year, something of special importance to deputies in the field.

"The new color goes from brown to black, but it's the material that really makes the difference," Johnson said. "This new material is very light. I equate it to what a runner would wear. It's a very breathable, absorbent-type material. The old uniforms were polyester pants and a wool-blend shirt, so to stand out in the heat for hours at a time it could be very uncomfortable."

Johnson said the new look has a specific purpose, aside for the comfort of the deputy.

"It's very important for us for people to know that we don't want to look militarized," he said. "Frankly, this is one of the reasons it took so long to roll out the new uniforms. Sheriff McDermott wanted to take the time to make sure we did this right. We wanted a very professional look to our uniforms."

Johnson said each deputy receives a uniform allowance, but the new uniforms are possible due to a generous gift from a local business.

"We had two options," he said. "We could make each deputy and detention officer pay for their own new uniforms, and they would have been happy to do that, but we had to find a way to fit that into our budget. With over 20 deputies and over 115 detention officers, the overall cost would have been in the neighborhood of $65,000 to make this changeover. That's when Neptune Aviation stepped forward to foot the bill for it. No taxpayer dollars were used, so it's a win-win situation for us, and we're very appreciative."

So, if you see a sheriff's deputy smiling, it may be because they're not sweltering in a hot uniform. In addition, the sheriff's office will soon be obtaining some new patrol vehicles, Chevy Tahoe SUV's, to replace cruisers that have well over 100,000 miles.