PILOT MOUNTAIN — After nearly a decade of use the Pilot Mountain Police Department will be retiring their old bullet-proof vests.
The request came before the Board of Commissioners during May’s routine board meeting.
“It’s something we have needed for a long time,” expressed Police Chief Darryl Bottoms.
The average cost of a new bullet proof vest is around $500 according to Michael Boaz, town manager.
“We are going to order around 16 vests,” said Boaz.
As of now, the police department is expected to receive a grant to pay for nearly half of the cost of the vests.
The town is expected to receive some state and federal help with the purchase.
“There are two different grant sources,” explained Boaz.
One is from the North Carolina League of Municipalities, and the other source is a United States Department of Justice program.
“They will fund up to half the cost of a vest or $250 dollars whichever is less,” explained Boaz.
The town is funding the vests with money garnered through unused property that was recently sold, according to Boaz.
“The board amended the budget to reflect additional revenue,” said Boaz.
Commissioner Evan Cockerham stated he did not feel as though it was an option to not buy new vests for the police department.
“We can’t compromise the safety of the officers,” said Cockerham.
“I will not ask our law enforcement officers to potentially enter situations with their lives’ on the line without the proper equipment,” stated Cockerham.
Mayor Dwight Atkins questioned how old the vests were that the department is currently using.
“We have had some for about 10 years,” explained Bottoms.
“Are they just not safe,” asked Atkins.
“No,” stated Bottoms.
Cockerham offered a further explanation that the vest simply had deteriorated from use over time, “Especially those who wore the vests full time.”
Unanimously the board voted to use the monies raised to allow the police department to purchase the new vests.
“We are still working on the order,” explained Boaz.
However, he expressed the department should expect the new equipment soon.
Reach Eva Winemiller at (336) 415-4739 or on Twitter @ThePilotNC