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Wednesday July 29th, 2015 7:36AM

Banks County S.O. receives grant for bulletproof vests

By Rob Moore Reporter
HOMER - Sheriff's officers in Banks County soon will be a little safer, thanks to new bulletproof vests.

Banks County Sheriff's Office has been awarded a $13,074 grant through The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant.

"It's a huge investment for the county as a whole, and the grant will save taxpayers a good bit of money," Sheriff Carlton Speed said. The grant pays for half the cost of the vests.

"The grant's been available for several years and it's been several years since the Banks County Sheriff's Office has gotten it," Speed said. "We are very fortunate and pleased to be able to get it to save the taxpayers of Banks County money."

Speed said each of the officers has been individually measured and the vests are ordered, with arrival expected in about two weeks.

"Bulletproof vests are part of our uniform and extremely vital to our everyday operations," Speed said.

Speed said he is pleased with the level of equipment he and his officers have, thanks to the previous administration and the support of the Banks County Commission.

The Bulletproof Vest Partnership, created by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 1998, is a U.S. Department of Justice Initiative designed to provide a critical resource to state and local law enforcement.

Since 1999, the BVP program has reimbursed more than 13,000 jurisdictions a total of $227 million in federal funds for the purchase of more than one million vests.

Based on data collected for the fiscal year 2012, protective vests were directly attributable to saving the lives of at least 33 law enforcement and corrections officers in 20 states.

To be eligible for the funds, law enforcement agencies must have a policy requiring officers to wear vests, as well as a mission that focuses on safety and training.

This is the second grant received so far by Speed's administration. The first was a $10,000 grant from the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety. Speed said the first grant will be used to purchase in-car video equipment.

Speed said the department has applied for other grants and is awaiting word on those.
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