Covington Police to get rifle-proof vests

Ashley Rodrigue talks to members of the Covington Police Department about gear upgrades.

COVINGTON-  Tuesday was Day 1 on the job for police recruit Laura Aucoin.

Though it seems she's set to hit the streets, a new addition to this agency's uniform checklist is still a few weeks away.

"We had planned for next fiscal year to buy all of our officers rifle vests, but after that incident, it's like why wait," said Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz.

Lentz is referring to the SKS ambush on Dallas Police and the M4 attack on officers and deputies in Baton Rouge, 10 days apart this past July.

"All of our officers are equipped with bullet-proof vests that can stop most handgun rounds, but as you see what's happening across the country, police officers are being assaulted with rifles," said Lentz, "The current vests they wear will not protect them from a rifle round."

The 42 new vests, costing just over $30,000, are designed to protect from multiple types of rifle rounds, multiple times. A .308 round can be taken on about three times. A .223 can be absorbed about seven times. That's in comparison to the 9 mm round, which can be taken on an indefinite amount of times, just like the current vests.

"It won't be for daily wear for our police officers, but they will have it in their units, so should an incident occur, within a matter of seconds, they can throw it on and have the protection that they need," said Lentz.

For Aucoin, starting out in today's law enforcement environment, needing military-grade protection, raises some concerns, but not enough to keep her from putting on a badge.

"Part of it is you just have to roll with the punches, that's just how today is," she said, "But with the new vests, I'm grateful that we have this kind of stuff, if God forbid, something like this would happen here, we would be protected as best as we could."

So those who are protecting and serving can be protected too.

The Covington City Council is meeting right now to formally vote on amending its budget to cover the order cost.  The agency expects to receive the vests before the end of next month.

(© 2016 WWL)


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