Columbus Tech police fitted with new ballistic vests

Columbus Tech police fitted with new ballistic vests

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Wearing a bulletproof vest is an important part of the uniform for the safety of all law enforcement members, as the lifesaving piece of equipment helps reduce injuries for law enforcement.

But over time, they need updating.

The Georgia Fraternal Order of Police is dedicated to making sure officers at Columbus Tech has vests that would hold up on the job.

"We're not saying a vest six or seven years may not do the job, but we don't like to take those chances," said Randy Robertson, Vice President of Georgia Fraternal Order of Police.

Through a grant program called "Operation Protect Our Protectors," the FOP donated nine new vests for each officer. They were measured and made to fit.

"It makes sure it covers all the vital organs whether it be under the arm and the side. These actually go around the side which most of them don't," said Chief Tom Barnes of the Columbus Tech Police Department.

They were delivered within two weeks of applying for the grant.

"With the student population here at Columbus Tech and with Columbus population the way it is, they saw this to be a vital need. It was record time this was approved and pushed through for Columbus Tech," said Robertson.

The vests will soon be put to test. They will be used during an active shooter training exercise on campus Friday at 8:15 a.m.

The Muscogee County Sheriff's Office, the Columbus Fire and EMS, Columbus Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Public Health and Columbus Regional Health will be part of the drill.

"It will allow them to practice like a football team so to speak with their equipment on, with the right equipment on," said Chief Barnes.

The FOP says there are many law enforcement agencies that can't afford to buy safety equipment for officers but they are dedicated to helping as many law enforcement agencies as possible.

"The FOP is extremely proud of our protect our protectors program because we are able to do something for law enforcement that is meaningful and lets the families that love each and every one of the officers know they are going to be a little safer that day," said Robertson.

"Now it makes me feel better knowing these officers has a little more measure of safety with a custom fit  body amour. Thanks is not enough but, thank you," said Chief Barnes.

The new vests will replace some of the old one being used by officers in the department.

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