Madison Co. Sheriff's Dept. buying upgraded vests for assault rifle protection

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by Russell Kinsaul / News 4 and KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 11 at 5:24 PM

MADISON COUNTY, Ill. (KMOV) -- The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is looking to buy new bulletproof vests that can protect officers from the gunfire of assault rifles.

 

Sheriff Robert Hertz said he’s determined to find a way to pay for them so his officers can have a fighting chance against high fire-power police are facing these days.

There’s a big difference between the standard issue bulletproof vest officer are usually issued and higher protection vests used to protect against a growing, higher threat.

“We also feel we have to stay ahead of the curve and give them the protection that they need for that non-traditional threat, the high-powered rifle,” Hertz said.

Herzt wants to buy 70 vests, one for everyone on the force who might respond to an active shooter situation, including him.

The new vests are the same kind that SWAT units use and a slightly heavier version of the body armor that U.S. soldiers use on the battlefield.

What makes the difference is one-inch thick, seven-pound ceramic plate located in the front and back.

A vest and helmet will cost a combined $550, which comes out to a total of $38,500.

Hertz says it’s a necessary tool because in the event of a Sandy Hook school shooting situation, his officers won’t be watching from the sideline.

“In an active-shooter situation, we train our people here to not only immediately respond, but to try to immediately take care of the situation without waiting for backup people,” said Hertz.

With budgets being so tight these days, the sheriff said he would use surplus money from last year’s budget to pay for the helmets and vests.

The county council’s finance committee has already given approval to buy them.

 

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