WILLIAMSON – At Wednesday’s Oct. 7 Mingo County Commission meeting, the Williamson Police Department (WPD) was approved two thousand dollars by the Mingo County Commission to help cover the cost of bulletproof vests.
Barry Blair, Chief of Police for the WPD, approached the commission to request financial assistance. “The WPD applied for a Bulletproof Vest Grant through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The total cost for the vests was $7,650. The USDA covered about 35 percent of the cost which came to $2,600. The Williamson Rotary Club gave us $1150. That leaves us with a balance of $3900,” Blair said.
“Whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated,” Blair continued.
At the commission meeting, Blair was in uniform and was wearing a bulletproof vest. Blair commented that the department was utilizing the vests. “We got the vests in late July and have been wearing them ever since,” he said.
Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith expressed the commission’s support of law enforcement and their safety saying, “I wish we could do it all for you because it is very important. We are very supportive of law enforcement. I understand that it is becoming more and more dangerous to be in law enforcement. Simple traffic stops are becoming deadly. We want to help.”
Smith followed the statement with a motion to approve two thousand dollars to cover half of the remaining balance of the vests. Commissioner Diann Hannah seconded the motion.
According to the United States Department of Justice, “The Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP), created by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant of 1998 is a unique U.S. Department of Justice initiative designed to provide a critical resource to state and local law enforcement. BVP is a critical resource that saves lives. Based on data collected and recorded in 2012, protective vests were directly attributable to saving the lives of at least 33 law enforcement and corrections officers.”
Recent statistics indicate that law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty has increased.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) states that, “On average one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the U.S. every 60 hours which is about 146 per year. According to preliminary data compiled by the NLEOMF, 64 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty during the first half of 2015. This represents a three percent increase over the same period in 2014.”
For more information and statistics concerning law enforcement visit, www.nleomf.org
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279.)