The Watkinsville Police Department has something to be thankful for this holiday season: six new ballistic vests.
The Xtreme body armor, made of kevlar, was delivered Monday by Clay Bridges of the Georgia Fraternal Order of Police. It's a donation made possible through the Operation Protect our Protectors program, which provides vests to agencies that may not have the funds available to purchase them at a cost of several hundred dollars each.
"Officer safety is a critical issue in law enforcement, and the ballistic vest has been proven to not only reduce injuries but also save lives," Bridges said in a released statement. "Every officer should wear one every day. The FOP is working to ensure that more officers within our state have access to equipment that can provide protection to then as they protect fellow Georgians."
The new vests are lighter and more flexible than previous models, Watkinsville Police Chief Lee O'Dillon said, and will replace the ones that had been in use for at least a decade. Each was measured to fit to an individual officer.
"This is something that we really appreciate," O'Dillon said, adding that officers would put them to use immediately.
According to a news release, 767 vests have been donated to Georgia officers since Operation Protect our Protectors began in 2002.
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