Worthington Police Department in'vest'ed in saving lives
WORTHINGTON -- According to the National Institute of Justice, during the past three decades, ballistic-resistant soft body armor has saved the lives of more than 3,000 police officers. Body armor is critical safety equipment that law enforcement...
WORTHINGTON - According to the National Institute of Justice, during the past three decades, ballistic-resistant soft body armor has saved the lives of more than 3,000 police officers. Body armor is critical safety equipment that law enforcement and corrections officers need for personal protection.
Many smaller departments, however, cannot afford this potentially life-saving piece of equipment. To that end, the Worthington Police Department recently donated 30 vests to help their fellow comrades in blue.
Sgt. Brett Wiltrout of the WPD said he discovered the Armor of God project on Facebook. He explained that he and fellow officers are fortunate that the city of Worthington and the WPD are able to afford ballistic vests for the department and routinely replace the equipment every five to six years.
At a cost of $1,200 to $1,600 per vest, it is easy to see where the prospect of outfitting an entire department can present a financial burden for a smaller department.
“There are smaller departments that can’t afford it, or some departments make their officers pay for that. The city here and police department, they don’t think twice about it.”
“It’s an essential piece of equipment for the officers, so we’re just trying to make sure other departments can get that as well,” Wiltrout said.
Wiltrout added that the Armor of God project seemed like a good way to clear out older vests from the department’s inventory without risk of the equipment falling into the wrong hands.
“We had vests stored in our building probably dating back to the early ’90s. ... You don’t want to throw those away on account of where they (could) go, so we’ve always kept them around,” he said.
Wiltrout said the WPD donated 30 vests, which were mailed out last week. He noted that the department will likely continue donating their used vests in the future.
“It’s a great cause,” he said, “It’s just a great idea to give to smaller departments and departments that are constrained with budgets that can’t afford this stuff. It’s just a great idea.”
The Armor of God project, based in Muscle Shoals, Ala., was founded in 2009 as a ministry to reach the first responder community. The group distributes vests to law enforcement officers across the United States and, according to its website, 6,718 ballistic vests have been distributed to date.
For more information on the Armor of God project, visit its website at vestforlife.com.