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Ballistic vests to be purchased for police

September 26, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday voted to spend $3,819 to help purchase 30 ballistic vests for the Hagerstown Police Department.

The total cost is $20,982, in which $3,819 will be paid for by the city, and the remaining $17,163 will be paid for by state and federal grants, Police Chief Arthur Smith said last week.

"I think the safety of our police officers is very important," Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer said after the meeting. "If the city purchasing these vests saves officers' lives, it's well worth it."

According to city documents, the vests will be purchased from Atlantic Tactical of New Cumberland, Pa.

Smith said he has never asked the council for money to buy vests in the past, but he had to this year after the state cut financial aid to municipalities.

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The city replaces vests every five years, he said.

Twenty-four of the vests will be distributed to existing officers, and the other six will be issued to new hires when they graduate in February from the police academy, he said.

Smith, a former police officer for the city of Baltimore, said officers in Hagerstown have been required to wear vests since he became police chief about seven years ago.

Police officers wear the vests under their uniform shirts, he said. Each vest comes with four carriers, or shells that can be removed from the underlying ballistic material and washed.

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