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All Middlesex patrol deputies have protective vests

Bedford County Sheriff Michael J. Brown recently presented 10 vests to the Middlesex Sheriff’s County Office as part of Protect the Protectors program.Above, from left, are Sgt. J. “Tripp” Ashby, Deputy William T. Bagby, Deputy John H. Collamore, Middlesex County Board of Supervisors chair Carlton Revere, Sheriff David P. Bushey, executive director of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association John W. Jones, Bedford County Sheriff Michael J. Brown, Deputy Earnest J. Robinson, Deputy Kimberly J. Taylor, Sgt. Ranger I. Freeman, and Deputy Austin E. Norwood. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

All Middlesex Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies now have a protective ballistic vest thanks to the “Protect the Protectors,” a program of the Safe Surfin’ Foundation.

On October 15, Bedford County Sheriff Michael J. Brown presented 10 vests to Middlesex Sheriff David Bushey.

Brown is the founder of the non-profit organization Safe Surfin’. The program educates children and parents to threats on the internet and the cyberworld. The Protect the Protectors program was started through the Safe Surfin’ program and in its first year has provided more than 60 ballistic vests nationally to law enforcement personnel at no cost, mostly in smaller jurisdictions.

A 2011 study indicated about 200,000 persons in law enforcement are without ballistic vests, said Brown. Tight budgets often limit the number of ballistic vests, which cost between $800 and $1,000 each—and have a useable life of just 5 years, Brown said.

Funding for the ballistic vests is provided by the National Sheriffs Association and Moose International, a fraternal and social organization. 

With the addition of 10 vests, all 14 Middlesex patrol deputies now have ballistic vests. Four other vests were purchased with proceeds from a recent sheriff’s office golf tournament.

During a brief presentation ceremony, Middlesex Sheriff Bushey commented, “This is such a great relief” to have these ballistic vests. “They will bring us up to date and make protection permanent.”

Ballistic vests have saved the lives of more than 3,000 police officers, said Sheriff Brown, who commented that he did not have a ballistic vest until late in his law enforcement career.

Carlton Revere, chair of the Middlesex Board of Supervisors, said, “We are very proud of the men and women on the frontline every day, and we want them to have the protection that they need.”

John Jones, executive director of the Virginia Sheriff’s Association, said, “We are pleased to be a small part by making sure all sheriffs have all the information necessary to implement these kinds of programs.”

posted 12.31.2013

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