WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – The thin blue line will be a little more safe for police officers in Walnut Ridge after a vote Monday night from the Walnut Ridge City Council.
On Monday, July 17, the city council voted unanimously to approve a $6,320 purchase order for eight brand new body armor vests for police officers on the WRPD force. The vests, which were just under $800 each, were ordered from Teeco Safety by Tuesday morning following the council’s decision, said Walnut Ridge Police Chief Chris Kirksey.
The vests are an upgrade over the current product worn by officers. The current vests, which had reached the end of their five-year supported-life cycle by the manufacturers, are considered level 2 for ballistic protection. The new vests will be level 3A. The difference is how much force the vests can withstand, with the 3A being able to stop up to a .44 magnum being shot at the officer, point-blank.
“This particular vest exceeded the test requirements,” Kirksey said. “A .357 or .44 magnum will go through the level 2 in most cases. A .357 is in a lot of people’s’ possession. It’s a common gun. The 3A’s offer more protection and for the difference in money, it’s a no brainer.”
Vests will come with the inner carrier, trauma plate, front and back panels.
The city has submitted a grant application to the Department of Justice for 50 percent of the purchase price of the vests to be recouped. It could take four months to learn if the application was approved.
Kirksey expected to receive the vests in the next two or three weeks.