Sheriff asking to purchase new bulletproof vests

Friday, October 26, 2012

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Marshall County sheriff's deputies, detectives and other officers are in-line to get new bulletproof vests as the county's Law Enforcement Committee is endorsing the sheriff's request to buy the protective garments.

Carol Binkley, the sheriff's dispatch administrator and purchasing agent, obtained a $5,250 federal grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and county commissioners are being asked to match that amount to have $10,500 available for the purchase, Sheriff Norman Dalton said.

Binkley got prices on vests and applied for the grant on Dalton's direction, he said. The department will probably be able to buy 15 vests after the county Budget Committee recommends the purchase and the full commission votes for the spending request late next month.

Vests worn by sheriff's officers now are about seven years old, Dalton told the Law Enforcement Committee on Tuesday. Lewisburg Police Officer John Christmas, a county commissioner serving on the Law Enforcement Committee, responded saying the LPD replaces its vests "much more often."

Commissioner Barry Spivey moved to recommend the request to the Budget Committee and the vote was unanimous.

Dalton advocates use of bulletproof vests, in part, because he was wounded in a shootout with burglars at the Berlin Market on Franklin Pike in January 1999 when he was a detective.

"In the Detective Division, we carry our vests in a jacket to pull on," Dalton replied when asked about his experience. "In that situation, I didn't have the jacket on."

In a fast developing conclusion to a four-county investigation into a burglary ring, Dalton went to the market as then-Deputy Dac Burrow came upon three suspects, leading to the shootout.

"Where the wound was at, the vest might not have helped," Dalton said. "I was hit in the side. They make them wrap around now.

"Every officer needs one," the sheriff said. "They've gotten lighter over the years."

Lighter vests became possible with the use of Kevlar, a DuPont trademarked name for synthetic fiber first used to replace steel belts in racing tires. Vests to be purchased by Dalton will also have trauma plates.

The sheriff anticipates calling for bids after the November meeting of the county commission.