Cumberland deputies get heavy duty bulletproof vests

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Every deputy will be issued one of the new heavy duty vests.

Cumberland County Sheriff's Deputies will soon don a new look. The Sheriff's Office has been outfitted with outer layer bulletproof vests. The new gear comes in the wake of recent violence toward law enforcement including Monday's deadly police shooting in Orlando.

"Just had an incident yesterday and it's sad that an officer lost their life in Florida and it's really sad that it happened. And we don't want it to happen here," said Sheriff Ennis Wright.

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Monday's shooting brings back painful memories for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

In 2014, a Cumberland County Sheriff's Deputy was shot several times while responding to a call in Crystal Springs. The bullets penetrated the deputy's vest, prompting the Sheriff's Office to consider additional protective measures.

"With the things going on today; the active shooters are using rifles. And this is something we absolutely have to have to keep us safe," Sgt. Sean Swain said.

The bulletproof vests that deputies wear now can withstand 9mm and typical handgun rounds, but the 16-pound outer layer vests worn on top of a deputy's uniform can shield an officer from assault rifle bullets; the weapon of choice for most active shooters.

The new gear comes at a price tag of $250,000, an investment Wright said will pay for itself.

"I don't want my officers getting out there, hesitating doing their job, I want them to feel safe doing their job. I want their family to know that we're providing them with the most up to date equipment."

An anonymous donor also put up $10,000 for the effort. Wright said he's thankful that in a climate where officers are targeted for doing their jobs, that someone thinks highly enough of them to help keep them safe.

"It's more than thank you. The person that done this didn't have to do this. It says a lot about someone caring about first responders," Wright said.

The Sheriff's Office received 305 carrier vests. Every deputy will be issued one.

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