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Kingston Police Chief Jim Washam said his department was able to purchase 19 new bulletproof vests, thanks to a federal grant.
“It’s a 50-50 grant through the Department of Justice,” he said. “It really helps the department, as expensive and important as the vests are. They can save a life.”
Washam said the city paid $12,000 for the vests upfront and got reimbursed for the grant half.
“Every chance we get, we apply for the vest grant,” he said. “Usually after five years, they’ll start deteriorating some because of the heat and the sweat that the officers get on them.”
Washam said vests should be replaced every five years or so, anyway.
The 19 vests will help protect the police department’s 12 full-time and seven part-time officers. Washam said they gave the old vests to their reserve officers.
“This really helps us,” he said. “We can pass them down to our officers that may just be coming in one or two times a month to help out with special events, where they can wear a vest also.”
Washam said his department was also able to purchase eight Dell tablets, thanks a $5,000 Governor’s Highway Safety Office grant.
The tablets replaced the computers the officers previously used in their cars.
Washam said the tablets are handier.
“Our guys can use tablets in the car, but they can also use them to take pictures or video when they get on a scene,” he said. “Maybe it’s a crime scene that we know is going to get disturbed when first responders or EMS comes in to do their job; there may be something you can save as evidence on that video that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”