A group of area cities will receive state-funded rifle-resistant body armor as part of a statewide program approved by the 85th Texas Legislature and signed into law May 27.
The initiative, known as the Bullet-proof Vest and Body Armor Grant Program, will outfit 453 local jurisdictions with 32,842 rifle-resistant vests and body armor plate sets at a cost of approximately $22.9 million.
As part of a national Law Enforcement Appreciation Day news conference at the Dallas Police Association Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the grant recipients and said the program would increase officer safety throughout the state.
“My top priority as governor is to keep our communities safe, and I thank the law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line everyday to make that possible,” Abbott said, according to a news release. “The job of our law enforcement community is becoming more difficult as the threats our officers face continue to increase. The State of Texas will not sit idly by and tolerate these actions against officers who are simply doing their job to uphold the law and protect the people of Texas.”
The granted equipment requires no local match and has a five-year replacement and upkeep warranty period.
According to the release, area jurisdictions that will receive the equipment include:
City of Killeen — 225 sets at a cost of $127,500
City of Harker Heights — 55 sets at a cost of $31,130
City of Belton — 35 sets at a cost of $23,440
City of Temple — 50 sets at a cost of $25,000
Village of Salado — five sets at a cost of $2,530
Lampasas County — 19 sets at a cost of $9,614
The city of Killeen approved a budget amendment Dec. 12 to clear the way for acceptance of the grant. While the equipment will come at no immediate cost to the city, council members expressed concern that the city will have to cover the upkeep and replacement costs for the equipment when the five-year warranty period ends.
The city estimated the cost of replacing the armor plates is about $81,000.