Larger police departments lend a hand to ‘Brothers in Blue’ at smaller agencies

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- For so many police officers, bulletproof vests are a vital piece of equipment.

However, for small departments the price tag is too high, so some larger departments across the metro do their best to help their brothers and sisters in blue.

"It's a life and death situation," Overland Park police spokesman John Lacy said.

He said you never know when you're going to need one, but having one could save the officer's life.

"If you are going on a call and it's a domestic, or maybe it's a robbery -- you want to have on a vest," Lacy said.

But with smaller departments having a tighter budget, it makes finding the funds difficult.

"Money is always the issue when it comes down to it," Lacy said. "A lot of resources have to go elsewhere, such as, vehicles, maybe firearms, maybe training, so this is a way for us to give back to those smaller agencies."

That's why the agency donates it's lightly used vests to smaller departments in the metro.

"It is pretty common, and we're not the only agency that gives our vests to smaller agencies," Lacy said. "Olathe, Lenexa, they're also on board."

Lacy said not every vest can be donated, but with nearly 250 officers on their force, they give as many as they can.

"They always have an afterlife," Lacy said. "These vests are still good. You want your brothers and sisters in law enforcement to always be protected, and something is better than nothing at all."

He's not able to say exactly which agencies the vests go to, but Lacy said every time they get them, it's a good feeling to know officers are a little safer on the street.

"It makes us feel really good, really good, just to get that thank you from other agencies -- hey, we really appreciate this equipment," Lacy said.

Lacy said the cost of one vest starts around $700 and need to be replaced every five years.

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