“The federal grant will pay about half the cost for ballistic vests for officers,” Chief Greg Turley said Friday.
When Turley became police chief more than a decade ago, he required field officers to wear bulletproof vests.
He said the vests can do so much more than deflect bullets. It can protect and save officers from knife attacks or even automobile crashes.
“It does so much,” Turley said. “It displaces force trauma.”
He said the police department received the $5,788 grant through the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program.
“Now we can purchase the vests at half the cost,” Turley said.
The department will spend $11,000-$12,000 for new vests.
Turley said a new vest costs $350-$450, depending on the sizes, so he anticipates the department can buy enough vests for more than 20 officers. At full-force, Pell City has 36 fulltime officers and eight part-time officers.
Many of the vests were becoming obsolete.
Turley said the life expectancy of a bulletproof vest is about five years.
He said if the department hadn’t received the grant, another option was to send the old vests back to the manufacturer for rehabilitation.
“This will allow us to not have an officer without a vest,” Turley said.
He said manufacturers have come a long way in bulletproof vests technology.
Vests were on once bulky, hot and heavy.
“You can’t even tell someone is wearing a vest now,” Turley said. “The technology is remarkable.”
He said the city will have to solicit bids for the new vests, so it could take a few months before the department actually receives the new ones. The vests have to be individually fitted.
“It will probably be spring before officers actually get the new vests,” Turley said.
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