Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Armor of God Project

Project Gives Small Town Officers Bullet-Proof Vests
Courtesy: KTUL

Tulsa - Small police departments don't always have the funds to provide officers with bullet-proof vests. Since many officers can't afford the 500-dollar price tag to buy one themselves, they sometimes go without. That's unthinkable for the "Armor of God" project, who is trying to keep police officers safe.

Larger police forces get new vests every five years, when the manufacturer's warranty runs out. The old vests -- many times still good -- are burned, stored or thrown away.

The Armor of God project aims to put those old vests to good use, by giving them to officers who don't have one.

When Tulsa police Captain Travis Yates learned officers in other countries didn't have vests, he and another officers from Alabama founded the Armor of God Project. Two months ago, they shipped 25 to the Philippines.

"One day later, an officer chased a stolen car into an alley," Yates says. "The guy exited the car and shot the officers at point blank range in the chest. That vest saved his life."

Then Captain Yates started hearing about officers in need in this country.

"There are officers who have to buy their own," Yates says. "Sometimes they don't have the money to do that. This particular officer who we're giving the vest to went and got fitted but couldn't afford it. His fiancee called us in tears."

That officer gets a vest tomorrow in New York.

"We were motivated before when we were working with other countries," says Yates. "But when we found out the need was in our own country, it has really just ramped our efforts up."

The Armor of God Project has a checklist to make sure the recycled vests are in good shape.

"Experts have told us the vests will still work properly and effectively. And right now, they're wearing nothing. If you're not wearing one, the best thing is a new vest. The next best thing is a used vest."

He says this project ends up helping small departments and surprisingly the big ones as well.

"They're looking for a reason to get rid of the vests," he says. "We have a way to get rid of them and put them on the back of an officer in need."


Brimsonredneck said...

I have 2 vests, I will pay postage and donate, but only to my brother and sister officres in this country. I believe we have to take care of our own officers first.

Travis Yates said...

Thank you so much. We are currently only sending the vests within the United States but we can certainly mark your vests to make sure that if that changes they will stay in this country. We have worked with other agencies to do the same thing. Thank you again.