The Bonne Terre Police Department is raffling off a whole hog to help raise money for the department to purchase new Kevlar vests for the police officers.
Det. Sgt. Ben Adams said the officers are in need of new bulletproof vests that will give them better protection. He explained the upgraded vests will allow better mobility, be more breathable and protect them from a range of bullets.
“We have a couple different kinds of vests, one we could wear under our old style uniforms and then we switched to the class B uniforms, so we used the ones we could wear on the outside,” Adams said. “The panels on the inside of both of them are exactly the same.”
Adams explained the Kevlar material becomes less effective over time from wear. He said the less flexible they are the more it will restrict the ability to breathe in a high stress situation and the added weight in 100-degree heat will trap heat right up against the body.
“When it is fitted to you it will be pressed right up against your chest and back and when it is cinched down it compresses your whole chest,” Adams said. “The current body armor we are looking at is more flexible, breathable and much lighter.”
Adams said as new body armor becomes available one of the reasons they try to get the newer versions of it is because it becomes lighter, thinner and more flexible and it’s easier to move around for the officers.
“The thing about body armor is that it doesn’t do any good if you don’t wear it,” Adams said. “The problem we have with the officers is trying to make the determination of do I really need to wear it. I haven’t needed, but I wear it. The stuff is uncomfortable, it’s silly for me to drive around and not be able to move the way I want to be able to move.”
Adams stressed that the one time an officer may not wear it, that will be when they need it. He said that is why they need to get the more efficient vests for the officers.
“The weight and flexibility is a huge factor for us,” Adams said. “We like to have them traded out every three or four years because even in winter time we are sweating in it and it gets into the fibers of the Kevlar. You can’t wash this. You can take the Kevlar out of the vest and wash the carrier, but never the Kevlar itself.”
Adams said the sweat soaks into the fibers and over time the vests become less effective. He explained the vest he wears is from 2012 and because of the time used, it is nowhere near as effective as it was brand new.
“The great thing about these vests is since we wear them over our uniform, we are able to take them off while we are in the office to air out,” Adams said. “When we wore them under our uniform, once they were on, they were on until the end of the shift. These new ones have straps on the side and are able to be easily removed.”
Regarding the raffle, Bonne Terre Lt. Bill Stegall said Marlers Towing donated a whole hog, which is butchered, wrapped and ready to go. Mineral Area Office Supply donated the tickets.
“We will do the drawing here at the police department on July 16 at 2 p.m. and will immediately call the winner and post it on Facebook,” Stegall said. “Tickets are six for $5 or $1 a piece and can be purchased at Bonne Terre City Hall or from myself and Chief Doug Calvert. Also any of the officers can point you in the right direction to purchase some.”
Stegall said anyone can message him on Facebook or call him and he will get the tickets to them. He added there are a lot of good people in the community who have helped the department out and they are thankful for it. He said they will sell the tickets until they run out or time is up, whichever comes first.