Hendersonville police officers using new bulletproof vests - WSMV News 4

Hendersonville police officers using new bulletproof vests

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The police department has 125 new bulletproof vests. (WSMV) The police department has 125 new bulletproof vests. (WSMV)

Growing concerns about attacks on law enforcement officers across the country are prompting changes at a Midstate police department.

The Hendersonville Police Department just bought 125 new bulletproof vests designed to protect against rifle rounds.

Police in Hendersonville say they've seen an uptick in attacks on police and crimes involving higher-caliber guns and feel these stronger vests are needed.

The bulletproof silicon plate in the front and back of the vest is a big reason why each vest weighs upwards of 30 pounds, which is about 20 pounds more than a standard vest.

The vest also has a special pouch to carry ammunition for rifles and pistols as well as a first-aid kit.

Detective Seneca Smith said the idea for the new vests initially came after five Dallas police officers were ambushed and killed last year.

Officials say the growing number of violent crimes in Middle Tennessee makes these vests necessary for every officer.

"Those few individuals that we're having to deal with that are violent that have the higher-caliber rifles ... we're wanting to be as safe as possible, so I see the need for it," Smith said.

The new vests come at a cost. The price for 125 vests was about $52,000.

Taxpayers covered $38,000 of the costs after the city council voted unanimously in favor of the vests. The Citizen Police Academy raised over $14,000.

Smith said the city will end up saving money in the long run.

"If an officer is shot and put in the hospital, more money is going to be spent for his or her care than it would be just to buy one of these on the front end to have one of your officers wearing them," Smith said.

The Hendersonville Police Department is one of the first departments in the Midstate to have these vests.

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