Lawsuit settlement being used to protect law enforcement officers

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By John Barnhart

    For the past year Moose International has been helping the Safe Surfin’ Foundation provide funds to buy ballistic vests for law enforcement officers.

    This program began after Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown discovered a Rand Corporation study stating that 220,000 law enforcement officers in the United States do not have access to ballistic vests due to budgetary constraints. Ballistic vests are usually worn under a police officer’s shirt and can stop a handgun bullet.
    Brown added buying ballistic vests for law enforcement officers, who don’t have them, as a Safe Surfin’ project. Moose, which supports Safe Surfin’, has donated enough money to buy 125 vests.The program is called “Protect the Protectors” and it helps agencies that don’t have ballistic vests for their officers due to  budget shortfalls.
    That got Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s attention and his office told Brown about money available from an Abbott Labs settlement. Virginia had sued Abbott Labs over mislabeled drugs and Cuccinelli decided to use the settlement money for law enforcement.
    Brown received a $245,000 grant from this money to buy 500 ballistic vests. According to the terms of the grant, the money can only be used for law enforcement agencies in Virginia. There is enough need in Virginia that Brown quickly got 500 requests. According to Brown, agencies receiving the vests must have a policy mandating that officers wear them while on duty.
    Brown said the vests he purchased have the highest rating. They will stop a .44 mag. round or shotgun blast full of double-aught buckshot. They are made in the United States by Top Line Armor Systems, based in Ohio.
    Last week, Brown presented vests to the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, Central Virginia Community College Campus Police and Lynchburg Regional Airport Police.