New vests planned for officers
It's time for sheriff's officers to slip on new bulletproof vests.
Bulletproof vests may last longer than five years, but for liability reasons, the county's looking to buy new ones.
"It's planned obsolescence," said Leavenworth county Sheriff Herb Nye. "They only guarantee them for five years. So, for our security and liability, we change them out every five years."
The county purchased its first supply of bulletproof vests from American Body Armour five years ago for $400 each, about the same price as the 50 new ones are projected to cost. Federal grants will pay for half the price of the new vests. To ensure the correct coverage, each officer's vest will be custom-made.
Nye said there are more companies that make the vest than he would have thought.
"We're looking at five different companies right now," he said.
All the companies are located in the United States.
Officers are not required to wear bulletproof vests, Nye said.
"But it is encouraged," he noted. "I think most of the people out on the road wear their vests all the time, The officers assigned to the office and jail don't."
The bulletproof vests are made out of Kevlar.
"It's woven together with several layers," Nye said. "It's very lightweight, but it will stop most caliber weapons."
The sheriff's department is also in the market for stab vests.
"Theses are titanium vests that the jail personnel can wear while they're on duty," Nye said. "It's more for ice picks and knives. They're not ballistic protection, but hopefully you won't have ballistics inside a jail."