New protections for law enforcement

New protections for law enforcement

SPRINGFIELD -- Police officers have one of the most dangerous jobs.
SPRINGFIELD -- Police Officers have one of the most dangerous jobs. WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs explains.

"We provide one. It's not a requirement until this law went into effect, but we provide them anyway."

Undersheriff Jack Campbell says he's always ready if he gets called to a crime scene. He grabs his gun, badge and, most importantly, his bulletproof vest.

"But I have one in my vehicle with me and again it's something that if I happen to be out on the street or get called to a scene, I can grab it quickly and throw it on my person."

This memorial at the Illinois State Capitol is to pay tribute to officers who have died in the line of duty. But, a new law which went into effect this month will require all state law enforcement agencies to give officers bulletproof vests.

A bulletproof vest will be given to each new recruit. The vest is also required to be replaced before its warranty expires. Campbell says he'll encourage his officers to keep them at all times.

"And we preach to our deputies that you are a target even when you walk into a grocery store or into a restaurant and we've seen across the country, very tragic incidents."

A vest costs can more than $500 on average, but many departments won't have to spend much money to get them.

"And we've been lucky enough to get grants and have the funding from the county board to provide new ones, so it's something we've always done."

It also mandates the unit of government with jurisdiction over each department apply to the U.S. Justice Department for matching grants to pay for the vests under the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act.
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