PAULS VALLEY, Okla. - Deadly attacks on police officers are encouraging more agencies to better equip their men and women, including Pauls Valley.
“I saw it unfold when I was at work. It was late at night, and they were still doing the investigation, and we were just all blown away. Once I got home, away from everybody, I felt really heavy. You know, I felt like we had an even greater weight placed upon us,” said Officer Gavin Thompson.
Thompson is also the president of the Pauls Valley Fraternal Order of Police.
“We're wanting to make sure that we can do the job that we need to do to protect our citizens to the best of our abilities, and we're going to need the gear to do that,” Thompson said.
Right after the attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge, he asked what he could do to make officers safer.
The first thing on the list is to get vests with plates that stop the penetration of high-powered ammunition.
Thompson said their current vests stop smaller bullets from handguns but will not always halt armor piercing bullets.
He said newer and stronger vests are necessary.
“Any ballistic vest is expensive. These are expensive. They create a great cost. That's why there's a lot of agencies around the country that don't have them,” Thompson said.
To cover the cost, the FOP is asking its community to help.
A GoFundMe account is now set up to raise $10,000 to outfit all the department’s officers, including reserves.
The vests may have a price tag, but human life does not.
“We should always be trying our best to, you know, honor our words to our families when we say 'I'll see you later,'” Thompson said.
The FOP hopes to get the vests by December.
Once all Pauls Valley police officers are equipped with new vests, they will work on getting ballistic helmets.