City approved for grant for body armor

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Ironton's protectors are about to get some protection of their own.

Mayor John Elam was recently notified that the city has been approved for an approximately $4,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to cover half the cost of 14 new Kevlar bullet-proof vests for the Ironton Police Department. Elam wrote the grant and the matching funds were donated by the "Friends of Ironton" community group.

The department currently has a vest for each officer but all have exceeded the manufacturer's suggested use cycle and are in poor condition. Some even require duct tape to hold them together.

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Elam was pleased that the city will be able to provide the needed equipment to the department, yet still not dig into the city coffers.

"This saves the city nearly $10,000 from the general fund," Elam said. "I think it is important to protect the men and women who protect us."

IPD Sgt. Joe Ross emphasized the need for an upgrade for both comfort and safety reasons.

"Most of the bullet-proof vest we have are old and outdated," he said. "The new ones will be more comfortable and safer."

Though no one will confuse Ironton with Detroit or Chicago, Ross said the need for the equipment is still a priority.

"On a monthly basis, we have calls that are life and death situations," he said. "We have had officers without bullet-proof vests making arrests of people with firearms in the last year or two. To me, that is a life and death situation."