It isn't surprising to us, in 2015, that many of the people we talk to about our organization are shocked to learn that there are still many agencies out there that cannot afford to provide their officers with vests. As a police chief from a jurisdiction that can afford to provide its officers with virtually everything they need, it is also hard for me to believe at times myself. That being said, I also understand just how critical budgets can be and some small police departments literally are forced to decide between vests for the officers and keeping their patrol cars functional. It's a terrible position to be in!
Examples of agencies in need are all over the place. For example, Fox 7 (Austin, TX) aired a story last week featuring the Mustang Ridge Police Department's need for ballistic vests. According to the report, the agency is so strapped for funding that their officers are sharing vests that date back to 2002. Vests "expire" every 5 years because the ballistic material can break down and become weaker due to wear and tear. As a result, most officers get a new vest every 5 years. This story also mentioned a similar feature they did a year prior on the Granger, TX PD patrolling without vests.
This is just one recent story out of MANY!
FBI stats indicate that 36% of police officers killed by gunfire between 2003 and 2012 were not wearing a vest. We do not know how many of these officers were not wearing a vest because they didn't have one, but you can bet that a number of them fit this criteria.
THIS is why we exist - to reduce the number of officers who do not have access to a vest because of budget deficiencies - and you can help us make a huge impact on these officer's and their families lives. Please follow the link below and donate today.
Chief Brandon Perkins
Founder & Executive Director