EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSIN-VEST
from Eyewitness News Online
IN-VEST: The Need To Protect Law Enforcement Stretches Statewide
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Also Contributing: Larry Clark
Reported: Oct. 31, 2012 7:49 PM EDT
Updated: Oct. 31, 2012 9:04 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Eyewitness News has teamed up with the West Virginia Sheriffs' Association to start a month long initiative that is all about police officer safety.
We're relying on you to make "In-Vest" a success and help save police officer's lives throughout the entire state of West Virginia.
All of us have heard so many stories about police officers being saved in the line of duty. The stories of men and women who wouldn't have been able to go home to their families if they weren't wearing a bulletproof vest. The sad reality is that those vests are expensive, and not all police departments can afford to outfit their officers with that body armor. That's where you come in.
"It can and does save officer's lives," explains Captain Jim Sizemore of the Fayette County Sheriff's Office. "That vest is a vital piece of life saving equipment."
Many think vests are a piece of equipment that comes with the job, but that's not always the case.
"There's a lot of agencies across the state and across the nation. They don't have a strong tax base and it's not something that they can afford for their officers," explains Captain Sizemore.
Most recently, Roane County Deputy John Westfall survived a shootout with a man who had just killed two state troopers in Clay County. His vest serving as his protector, a life-saving tool not available for all who carry a gun and wear a badge.
"That's the reality. It is expensive," says Oak Hill Police Chief Michael Whisman.
A single bulletproof vest can cost nearly $1,000. They're only under warranty for five years. Sweat and every day wear and tear breaks down the fibers in the vest, making it less effective.
Detective James Pack with the Fayette County Sheriff's Office showed us how a 12-year-old retired vest performed under fire. He divided the vest into four sections, shooting each section with a different caliber.
Then he cut the vest open to see how it performed.
"As you can see how the layers absorb the energy from the rounds," he explained, pulling out bullet after bullet.
It was able to stop six of the eight rounds, with a .357 sig penetrating the vest through the back. It traveled through layer after layer of life-saving kevlar. A true example of why officers need new vests able to withstand whatever comes their way.
"You never know what's going to be in that car that you're stopping. What you're going to find when you respond to a call of a possible burglary in process, you don't know," says Sizemore.
Every week throughout the month of November, Eyewitness News will bring you the story of an officer saved by their vest, and why some are pushing that it become mandatory for all West Virginia law enforcement to wear. We need your help to make sure the men and women who protect us can go home to their families at the end of every shift.
To make a donation, all you have to do is go to any City National Bank location in the state. Make checks payable to "In-Vest."
You can also drop donations off at our studios in Charleston on Piedmont Road and Huntington on 4th Avenue, or mail them to:
In-Vest - WCHS-TV
1301 Piedmont Road
Charleston, WV 25301
This money will go directly to the West Virginia Sheriffs' Association to be divided up amongst sheriff's departments across the state. The money will be used for life-saving equipment, with the main focus being on equipping deputies with bulletproof vests.
If you have any questions, please e-mail Leslie Rubin at email@example.com
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