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Bill to fund protective vests for officers marked as high priority


Sen. Royce West, whose district includes the Dallas area where 5 officers were killed in July, filed the bill.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has made Senate Bill 12’s passage a top priority.

If passed, SB 12 would create a grant program to help Texas police buy protective vests.

A Dallas senator filed a bill Thursday that would create a fund for Texas law enforcement agencies to buy protective vests capable of stopping high-caliber bullets.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is making Democrat Sen. Royce West’s bill a high priority in the Texas Senate, giving the bill a coveted low number.

“You may think that all Texas police officers and sheriffs already have bulletproof vests and other protective gear, but what we have found is that this may not be an absolute case, or that the vests now used may not be sufficient to withstand the type of assaults that the bad guys – who themselves may be more heavily armed than the police – may initiate,” West said.

Outfitting all officers with protective vests that can withstand rifle fire became an issue for Royce after the July 7 attack in Dallas that left five police officers dead and nine injured. The shooting occurred in West’s district during a peaceful protest against excessive police force. West attended the event, which erupted into bloodshed when one man took aim at officers.

“I commend Sen. West for filing this important bill to help protect our brave men and women in law enforcement who risk their lives every day to protect us,” Patrick said in a statement. “The least we can do for the families of our police officers is to make sure that when they leave home to protect our communities they have the best protection possible.”

Senate Bill 12 would create a grant program open to all Texas law enforcement agencies. It does not outline how much money would be placed in the fund.

All uniformed Austin police officers are required to wear bulletproof vests. Plain clothes officers and detectives must also wear vests if they are wearing anything that identifies them as a police officer.

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