Grant provides for rifle-resistant body armor

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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Wise County commissioners Monday approved a resolution acknowledging a grant from the state of Texas for rifle-resistant body armor.

The grant, if awarded, will cover the purchase of body armor for every officer that works for the county, including constables and the fire marshal’s office. It requires no matching funds.

Sheriff’s office Sgt. Heinrich Downes, who writes the department’s grants, said this one was created by the state following the July 2016 shooting in Dallas that left five police officers dead and nine others injured.

He said $25 million was allotted for the whole state, and although the grant isn’t guaranteed, Downes was confident Wise County would receive the funding.

“Some agencies had already purchased body armor, so they can’t go through the state, which is actually to our advantage,” he said, indicating those departments wouldn’t be applying for the grant.

Downes described the body armor as a piece of equipment officers would carry in their cars and put on when there is a potential threat.

“It’s a thick plate, 3 pounds in addition to what they wear. Quick disconnects, quick on and off,” he said.

Downes said the armor would withstand multiple hits from a high caliber rifle.

“Dallas didn’t have that equipment with them,” he said. “They ran into that building, and they didn’t have the gear to support that. It would have given them a chance to survive. “

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