EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSIN-VEST SPARKS PROPOSED LEGISLATION
from Eyewitness News Online
In-Vest Sparks Statewide Legislation For Sheriff's Departments
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Feb. 4, 2013 10:20 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 5, 2013 9:02 AM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Our In-Vest initiative here at Eyewitness News has sparked proposed legislation that would affect every single deputy across West Virginia.
Last November, Eyewitness News teamed up with the West Virginia Sheriffs' Association for In-Vest.
With the support of community and local businesses, we were able to raise more than $16,000.
The goal is to provide bulletproof vests for deputies whose counties could not afford them. Now, the issue will be in the hands of state lawmakers.
The sheriffs' association will introduce a law during the upcoming legislative session that would require sheriff's departments to provide vests for their deputies.
"So many did not know that these guys were not issued vests by code. And the more people we had call in, donate, ask questions, they said, 'why is this not in state law? We already thought it was.' It wasn't. So now that's what we're working towards," explains executive director Rudi Raynes-Kidder.
Right now, the association is surveying each county to find out exactly how many are needed.
"In-Vest absolutely sparked all the work for this piece of legislation," she says.
County sheriffs themselves, however, are in charge of making the decision if the vest is mandatory for their department to wear. A change Kanawha County Sheriff John Rutherford has already made within his department.
"Safety is number one to every police officer out there. We want to make sure that they are going home to their families at the end of the day. It's a lot of dangeruos actitivies and you never know when you're going to be in a situation where you wish you had your vest on that day," explains Cpl. Brian Humphreys.
A small idea that turned into a community effort that's now going all the way to the state capitol.
"I don't see any reason why we can't have the proper protection for these guys. If we trust them enough to go out there and protect us everyday, why in the world can we not scrape together the money to help them out," says Raynes-Kidder.
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