By Dana Delgado
BERTRAM — Bertram police officers have added a new line of protection with the acquisition of four essential protective vests.
Mayor Dickie Allen made the announcement at a meeting Dec. 26 from his office at Bertram City Hall and called it a critical addition that will not only assist police officers in executing their duties but add to the protection of the town’s residents.
Mayor Allen said this was the first new protective vest acquisitions ever by the City of Bertram.
The purchase was made possible through a grant prepared and submitted by Police Chief Tracy Weems. The US Department of Justice assumed 40 percent of the costs while R Bank contributed the balance. R Bank was represented by Lori Ringstaff, Bertram Branch Manager, and Steve Stapp, President and Chief Executive Officer at R Bank in the process with the City of Bertram.
Mayor Allen applauded R Bank for its contribution and acknowledged the bank’s active partnership with the City.
“I think it’s been a good thing when people get involved,” he said. “We are very thankful for their support.”
Chief Weems added that “the Bank was very generous and proud to be a part of the process.
“Our officers are like kids in a candy store,” said Weems. “I’m thrilled to have the armor.”
Chief Weems said the fitted vests are concealable body armor Level II manufactured by American Body Armor, and deliver the perfect blend of design and functionality and protection. He said the vests should be good for five years.
Bertram Patrol Sgt. Doug Wall, who has been with the department for three-plus years, gave the new vests high marks and said he was “thankful and grateful” to receive such “a reliable piece of equipment.” In addition, he said his “family was happy” with the added protection.
“They are the most comfortable vests I’ve ever been issued,” Sgt. Wall said. “They’re much lighter and provide for more mobility. The older second-hand vests we used were so heavy and uncomfortable.”
“You never know when an event will transpire,” Chief Weems added. “The vests have raised the confidence level of our officers. In the past, our officers used outdated, handouts from other police departments or they purchased their own vests and had to sign a waiver with the City.”
An official formal announcement is being planned with R Bank and City of Bertram officials.