The Oregon County Sheriff’s Office equipped our officers with new ballistic vests with external carriers. After doing our research, we made the switch to these vests for health and safety reasons.
These vests allow our officers to take equipment weight off their hips and lower backs. The vests will allow us to distribute the weight evenly. We are doing this to prevent lower back and hip issues that could lead to disability and other health issues.
We hope this will save the county money over time. Several of our officers already go to a chiropractor to alleviate pain. the vest can be worn out in the community, providing a “rock solid mounting location” for a body camera or other piece of technology and can be removed for comfort in other situations like filling out paperwork at a precinct or taking a break. The vest can go on within a matter of seconds for when they need to quickly respond to calls.
There have also been incidents that have proven these vests allow quicker access to tend to wounded officers (hopefully something we won’t have to deal with). These vests can be taken off quickly to tend to injuries. With the older vests, medical personnel would have to cut off the shirt and the vests to tend to injuries. These carriers can easily be removed without causing additional injury to the officer..
They are the same color as our uniforms, and simply brings our gear from our belt to our vests. It also allows officers to add tourniquets to our equipment which allows us to tend to traumatic injuries, and hopefully save more lives. We are not trying to look militaristic.
The Oregon County Sheriff’s Office received a Federal Grant in 2018 enabling our Agency to purchase these much-needed new bulletproof vests. The Grant provided for an approximately 50% match of reimbursement.
The Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) was created by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 1998. It is a unique U.S. Department of Justice initiative; and, was designed to provide a critical resource to state and local law enforcement agencies.
The Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) administers the BVP Program.
We hope this explains the changes you have seen, and know we did this for the health and safety of our officers and to provide a better service to the public.