FAIRFIELD, NJ — Members of the Fairfield Police Department, which has been actively giving back to the community for several weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has recently made a temporary change to its officers’ daily uniform.
During the current health crisis, the department has authorized its officers to wear a modified on-duty uniform shirt, which comes in both short and long sleeves. The long-sleeved version of the uniform is a black T-shirt with the word “police” down both sleeves, an America flag on the right shoulder and the words “Fairfield Police” on both the front and back of the shirt. All writing and emblems are written in a muted gray color.
Depending on the weather, officers may also be seen in a similar short-sleeved version of the black shirt, which has an American flag on the right sleeve, a Fairfield police patch on the left sleeve and the words “Fairfield Police” on the front and back, all in a muted gray color.
“Our citizens are used to seeing us in a particular uniform, so we wanted to make they are aware of our temporary new look” said Police Chief Anthony G. Manna.
Manna said he felt that with the increasing likelihood that officers will come into contact with actual or potential COVID-19 patients, there was a legitimate need for the officers to be in a less-formal type of uniform shirt.
“One that could be easily washed each day that was comfortable for them to wear and could be disposed of if necessary with limited expense to the department,” the chief said.
Since this global emergency began, Manna said that Fairfield officers have been bravely responding to a variety of different calls for service each day—potentially exposing themselves to the virus with little concern for their own health.
“Unfortunately the real fear most of them have is bringing the virus home to their families,” said Manna. “After working their 12-hour shifts, every one of our officers returns to their homes and immediately washes and cares for their uniforms. This takes valuable time away from them when they should be relaxing with their families. These new shirts just help to make that process a little easier for them.
“Right now, for me, it is all about keeping our officers and their families safe and their morale and spirits high, as our department goes forward to serve the public. They all seem to like the new shirts.”
The department will return to their regular issued uniforms as soon as the current situation subsides.
Meanwhile, the morale among Fairfield officers has been as high as it can be, as the department has been actively giving back to the community in any way that it can.
Along with the Fairfield Fire Department, the Livingston Police Department has been hosting "Take Out Tuesdays," where officers meet with the owners of with local restaurants and post a video interview about how each business has changed since the outbreak before purchasing dinner from the restaurant.
Local businesses like Manhattan Bagel and Il Panino Pizza have also partnered with the department and the Fairfield Police Foundation (FPF) in order to donate prepared meal kits for elderly residents and families affected by the downturn in economic activity. The Fairfield Police Foundation has donated dozens of pizza meal kits and bagel breakfast kits for each establishment to hand out as they see fit.
“The Fairfield community has been extremely generous to the Fairfield Police Foundation since being established three years ago,” said Dr. Michael Sapienza, president of the police foundation. “We feel it is our responsibility to give back to the community that has given so much to our police department over the past few years.”
The FPF is asking that anyone who knows of specific Fairfield families and/or individuals that are in need of extra assistance in this difficult time to contact the Fairfield Police Community Services Unit at (973) 227-1400.
Additionally, the Fairfield Police Department has joined the efforts of the local school district to display rainbows in their windows as a way of spreading hope and connecting with each other during the global health crisis.
Fairfield Officer Stacy Chiarolanza explained that Fairfield School Counselor Sarah Kirk reached out to the department about the project since the officers have always worked with the students as part of the Fairfield Municipal Alliance Committee.
The police department has partnered with Anthony DeVincenzo, owner of Artistic Signs in Fairfield, to display "Rainbows of Hope" window decals both at police headquarters and on all Fairfield police vehicles.
Roseanne DeFalco, owner of The Balloon Boss in Fairfield, has also supported this endeavor by selling rainbow balloons in order to spread hope and brighten the community. Selling the balloons at a cost of $20 each, the organization is donating 50 percent of all profits to first responders in both Fairfield and Montville.
"We truly appreciate all the support, as small businesses try to remain afloat during these challenging times," said DeFalco. "It is an honor to help spread joy at a time like this. We are all in this together."
DeVincenzo also offered to take his support of the project a step further by donating rainbow decals with the hashtag #rainbowsofhope to members of the Fairfield community to display on the windows of their vehicles or their homes.
Residents can obtain these stickers by supporting ordering take-out from out from Franklin Steakhouse, Hollywood Pizza, Il Panino Pizza, Sidelines Bar & Grill and Michael Angelo’s Restaurant, which will continue to provide stickers until they run out.