The Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office was one of six Virginia police offices to receive bulletproof vests Friday (Dec. 6) as part of a $245,000 grant from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli presented the funds to Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown, chairman and co-founder of the Safe Surfin’ Foundation, who personally presented the vests.
The other five departments which received vests were the Rocky Mount Police Department, Waynesboro Sheriff’s Office, Central Virginia Community College Police, Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind Police Department and the Louisa Police Department.
The money helped establish the BCSO’s “Protect the Protectors” ballistic program, which provides protective equipment to law enforcement agencies unable to afford them for their own officers. Brown founded the program in partnership with Moose International, launching the initiative after learning that more than 220,000 cops nationwide do not wear any ballistic protection at all due to budget shortfalls.
“This program has already donated new vests to officers and deputies throughout the country and I pledge to put ballistic vests on as many of our law enforcement brothers and sisters as humanly possible,” Brown said in a news release. “I don’t know how a councilman or a board of supervisor member can sleep at night knowing that their ‘protector’ is up against the criminal element without this protection!”
Cuccinelli’s contribution to the program came from the $1.5 billion Abbott Laboratories fraud case, resulting from the company’s illegal marketing of the drug Depakote, according to a release from his office. The office earned another $115 million in asset forfeiture funds, $105 million of which Cuccinelli said he wanted to share with state and local law enforcement.
“We’re very grateful for the donation,” said Rappahannock Sheriff Connie C. Smith. “Each of these vests is about $600; so that’s $3,000 in donations that could help save an officer’s life.”