FLINT TWP. — The township board approved the purchase of nine bulletproof vests for police officers to replace outworn ones.
The $5,351 cost of the vests is budgeted but also could be partly covered by anticipated grant funds, said Police Chief George Sippert.
Bulletproof vests are warrantied for five years, Chief Sippert said. After five years the vests start to degrade and no longer comply with National Institute of Justice standards for protection.
The police department issues new vests to officers every five years in rotation, Chief Sippert said.
The vests will be purchased from CMP Distributors in Lansing, under a long-standing relationship. They normally cost $685 each but township costs were to $589 by removing unneeded features including police identification tags on the front and back.
Sippert said the embroidered “police” tag does no show because officers typically wear the vests underneath their shirts. When they are worn outside, they are covered by a carrier that already displays police department insignia.
The price includes a one-time $50 delivery charge.
The Armor Express Halo, Threat Level II Concealable Vests conform to ballistic resistance standards. They are adjustable at eight points at the chest, shoulder and waist. are thrown away.
Officers are required to wear the vests while working the streets.
Chief Sippert also said the department has applied for a grant through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bulletproof Vest Partnership and expects to receive an award that will cover up to half the cost of the new vests.
The Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP), enacted in 1998, has disbursed $375 million in federal funds, as of Dec. 2013, to pay for more than one millions vests for state and local law enforcement, according to the Justice Department web site.
Trustee George Menoutes asked what happens to the old vests.
Chief Sippert said some are used for target practice or during active shooter training to prevent officers from getting bruised by simulations and paintballs but eventually they get thrown out.