Harlan City Police receive grant for bulletproof vests

Published 4:24 pm Thursday, January 11, 2024

The Harlan City Police Department was recently awarded a grant aimed at equipping the department’s officers with bulletproof vests, vital equipment for law enforcement in the event of a shooting incident.

Harlan City Chief of Police Winston Yeary provided some specifics about the grant and the vests purchased.

According to Yeary, the grant was awarded by the Kentucky Office of Home Security through the Law Enforcement Protection Program. The grant is funded by the sale of seized firearms.

“When guns are seized by law enforcement, they are sent to Frankfort and then auctioned off,” Yeary explained. “That money goes into this program. Agencies throughout the state can apply for grants from it to equip officers with vests.”

Years said this is the second time the grant has been awarded to his department since he became Chief.

“We’ve got all our officers fully equipped from this grant,” Yeary said.

Yeary mentioned the vests were ordered last February and arrived in early January.

The vests do have a shelf life and need to be periodically replaced.

“The vests are designed to last for a five-year period,” Yeary said.

Yeary pointed out the vests break down over time and become less effective.

“The vests we got are the level 3A vests,” Yeary said.

Yeary noted the 3A level vests are designed to stop handgun rounds such as .357 Magnum, 9 mm, .40 and .45 caliber ammunition.

“Those are the most common pistol rounds in use in the United States,” Yeary said.

Yeary mentioned vest technology has improved over time, with the vests becoming lighter and more effective.

“As technology improves, there are lighter vests that offer more protection,” Yeary said.

The newer vests are also more flexible, allowing for greater comfort for the officer wearing them.

The vests are tailor made for the specific officer who will be wearing them.

“The company we bought the vests from came in and measured the officers personally,” Yeary said.

All the Harlan City Police Department officers are now equipped with a vest.

“Every time we hire somebody, we get them a vest through this program,” Yeary said. “They’re really good vests.”