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Increased Threat From Rifles Prompts Dallas County Sheriff’s Department To Get Better Vests

Increased Threat From Rifles Prompts Dallas County Sheriff's Department To Get Better Vests

Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown sought a grant that is paying for vests that are designed to be more resistant to rifle bullets.
Yfat Yossifor

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department is getting extra money to better protect deputies from rifle bullets.

The department applied for a state grant last year and learned this year it would get $42,000.

More frequent mass shootings — and the threat of gunmen targeting law enforcement with more powerful weapons — has made protecting deputies an urgent priority.

The deadly shooting of five Dallas law enforcement officers downtown following a Black Lives Matter march was one such wake-up call.

“July 7, 2016 and Uvalde were indeed a flash point for many law enforcement agencies, Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown said Wednesday. “It propelled to the forefront our need for better equipment to combat the weapons that were being used against first responders.”

Rifle-resistant body armor generally includes level 3 and 4 chest and back plate protection against assault-style weapons like an AR-15 and AK-47.

Level 3 plates guard against rifle ammunition, while level 4 gives more security against “armor-piercing” bullets that can potentially penetrate body armor.

Armor bought with the state grant money must comply with National Institute of Justice standards, including a personalized fit — particularly for female officers.

Straps, harnesses, fasteners and flaps must be sized to each officer precisely.

The Army Store owner Mike Green said the approved armor pieces can cost about $900, which includes a custom vest, carrier and plates.

“So you’re looking at a little less than about 40 people or so, but that’s just an average of what I’ve sold at a police price to different police departments,” Green said.

The Dallas store owner previously sold equipment to former county Sheriff Jim Bowles.

Vendors seeking bids often offer law enforcement discounts.

The sheriff’s department hopes to buy about 70 sets.

Traffic and warrants divisions are first in line for the custom fitted rifle resistant armor.

Got a tip? Email Marina Trahan Martinez at [email protected]. You can follow Marina at @HisGirlHildy.

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