HIGH POINT, N.C. -- The High Point Police Department recently got 10 new heavy armor vests.
“Industry standard is huge, and I've watched vests evolve over the course of my 25-year career. We've gotten much more streamlined and scaled-down,” Assistant Chief of Police Travis Stroud said.
Stroud says there were more than 1,000 shots fired calls in the city last year, and more than 200 cases where a shot was fired and something was hit – a person, vehicle or structure.
“That tells me the weapons are out there. Hence that's why you need the armor to protect our officers,” Stroud said.
The vests include a rifle plate.
They also have holsters that make it easier for teams in the field to have access to different pieces of equipment.
The vests are being given to the high-risk divisions -- the vice narcotics unit and the SWAT team.
However, Stroud says the vests will be given to the vice narcotics unit first because that team includes undercover officers who often serve search warrants.
“It's extremely dangerous. I would rank it up there in one of our top things that we do. That and probably traffic stops,” Stroud said.
Stroud says this investment goes beyond the person wearing the vest.
“While people sometimes can’t see past that uniform or that vest," Stroud said. "That's a man or woman with a family.”
The department replaced the previous vests because they were approaching the end of the ballistics warranty.
The vests were purchased with more than $21,000 from the High Point Community Foundation.
Long term, the department wants to use other funding to increase the total number to 30.