Texas law enforcement agencies looking into new vests to stop rifle rounds
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he wants to make sure all law enforcement officers in Texas are outfitted with bullet-proof vests that can stop high-powered rifle rounds. Patrick said he will work to push the idea through the legislature in the coming session.
17 on-duty law enforcement officers have died in the Lone Star State this year. Five were ambushed during a protest in Dallas, two of them when rifle rounds pierced their bullet proof vests. That's why many police departments have been looking into upgrading their gear.
"At the end of the day, I think we all want the same thing. We just want our spouses to come home," said Miranda Crimbring who is married to a Cedar Park police officer.
Crimbring knew what she was signing up for when her husband joined the Cedar Park Police Department.
"They're putting their lives on the line, it's as simple as that," she said.
That's why anything that makes it more likely that Miranda's husband will make it through his shift is a welcome change for her.
"I think that any little bit that would help, from a safety standpoint, to make sure my husband will come home to me and my little girl, I think is definitely a positive thing," said Crimbring.
So it was good news for Miranda when Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix decided to increase body armor for his officers in case of an active shooter situation.
"The idea of an active shooter being a big city problem is completely false. It could happen anytime, anywhere, any place that there are people is a potential location for an active shooter situation," Mannix said.
The Cedar Park City Council agreed to outfit all officers with new vests and helmets that could withstand any kind of ammunition fired from an assault rifle. Three months ago, the vests were issued for any call involving a long gun.
Mannix knew he made the right decision after officers in Dallas were ambushed by a shooter with an assault rifle.
"They're in a profession that calls them into dangerous situations, under dangerous circumstances, and that it's important to have the proper equipment to protect them when those things occur," said Mannix.
As the years go by, and the world seems to become more violent, it's impossible for Crimbring to ignore the threats facing the men and women in blue.
"We see these things happening every single day, bad things, there's some horrible people out there that do some really bad things to our guys. There's just no other job like what they do," Crimbring said.
The Austin Police Department is also making moves to secure vests that will stop high-powered rifle rounds. Austin City Council recently approved money to do just that.
Lt. Gov Dan Patrick expects it will cost $20 million to outfit all Texas officers with the upgraded gear.