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TELL CITY - Perry County Sheriff Bob Glenn took a problem to the county commissioners' regular meeting Wednesday, but already had a solution for it.
As of July 1, he told them, he was required to provide bullet-proof vests for his officers. The state offered the requirement, but not the funding to fulfill it, he said.
"They're really great about mandating statutes and making local governments comply," the sheriff said, "but very seldom do you see where there's any financial backing that goes with that."
Glenn said he and Tell City Assistant Police Chief John Allen worked together and found they could go in on a state bid to reduce the price from more than $700 per vest to $395 apiece. The $8,080 cost of the vests for the county and Tell City officers would be covered through an offer by County Prosecutor Bob Collins, he added.
"He's willing to pay for them out of the law-enforcement fund," Glenn said, "so there will be no cost to the county." Collins would approach the commissioners at their next meeting, he added, to appropriate the money. The law-enforcement fund is replenished with money taken in seizures from criminals and fees paid by people convicted of certain crimes.
"We slid through that (mandate) without paying anything," Glenn noted, adding that the Cannelton Police Department had already equipped its officers with the protective vests.
The need to purchase them will be back in approximately five years, he said, because the Kevlar material providing protection from handgun bullets breaks down from exposure to bodily oils.
"Five years is a pretty good warranty for something that will prevent penetration," he said.
"I hope you never have to find out if one works or not," Commissioner Jody Fortwendel said.
Glenn said he appreciates the prosecutor's offer.
"If Mr. Collins hadn't funded this, we would have been in a dilemma as to how to pay for them," he said.
Allen appeared before Tell City's common council Monday and updated them about the state law and the need for 14 vests for full- , part-time and reserve city officers.