By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Saltillo Police Chief Steve Brooks knows how it feels to take a bullet in the line of duty and that’s why he makes sure his officers are equipped with body armor when they go on patrol.
The Saltillo Police Department has purchased four Kevlar vests to replace older vests.
“As a chief, I want to make sure they have the best tools to do their job,” Brooks said.
Brooks said he made sure to purchase a bulletproof vest for each of his officers when he became police chief in 2002 and is using a Department of Justice grant to replace vests that expire after five years.
The department had no body armor in 2001 and now each officer has a vest.
The grant reimburses the city for 50 percent of the cost of the vests.
The four vests cost $2,858 so the city and the Department of Justice will pay $1,429 each.
Brooks said he replaced some of the vests last year with the same grant and will be able to use the grant again in 2013.
In order to receive the grant, Brooks had to implement a must-wear policy, requiring officers to wear their armor at all times while on duty.
In addition to the Kevlar vests, the Saltillo Police Department is using the Edward Byrne Jag Grant through the Department of Public Safety to purchase five new tasers and 10 new flashlights.
The grant will reimburse 75 percent of the $5,878 equipment cost, leaving the city responsible for only $1,469.50.