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Sheriff aims for better bulletproof vests

Posted on February 9, 2009 - Filed Under Body Armor |

lionball - The Columbiana County sheriff’s office intends this year to take advantage of a federal program that will cover half the cost of purchasing new bulletproof vests.Sheriff Ray Stone said they will be applying for a grant through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bulletproof Vest Partnership program. This will enable them to replace vests eventually for all 22 deputies, including the sheriff and Chief Deputy Allen Haueter, depending upon much money is awarded.Stone also said he intends to purchase the higher quality vests, which cost about $700, compared to the $400 models the office has been purchasing for its deputies because of budget constraints.He said the difference in vests is in comfort. Both vests provide the same level of protection, but the cheaper ones - referred to as “turtle shells” are more cumbersome and somewhat restrictive. He said the $700 vests are lighter and more flexible, providing the deputy with a greater range of movement.The vests will be capable of stopping a bullet from .40-caliber handgun, which is the sidearm carried by deputies. “The rule of thumb is to have a vest capable of stopping a bullet from the gun you’re carrying,” Stone said.The sheriff’s office intends to seek enough funding to purchase new vests for all deputies, with the county required to provide 50 percent in matching funds - $7,700 if the application is for $15,400 ($700 per vest).Stone, who became sheriff last September, said the office had applied for grant funding the previous two years before he arrived but never heard back from the awarding agency. Stone checked recently and discovered the sheriff’s office had been awarded $1,700, which would be enough to help purchase four new vests.Stone said he would like to apply in the future for grant funding to acquire new tactical vests worn by the special response team members. Tactical vests provide more coverage of the shoulders, arms and groin area.As police chief of Perry Township, Stone said he used the grant program to purchase new vests for his officers every four to five years years, which is the average life expectancy because of wear and deterioration from perspiration.

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