All Kanawha County law enforcement personnel will now be protected by body armor while they are on duty. Sheriff Johnny Rutherford issued a new policy Friday which requires any employee who carries a gun on the job, whether in uniform or not, to be outfitted with a bullet proof vest.
“He’s codifying what’s already being done by most people in the department,” said Cpl. Brian Humphreys. “Everybody’s wearing their vests, but this actually puts it to paper and says, ‘We want you to.’”
Humphreys admits the vests are not the most comfortable article of clothing, which can at times cause somebody to not want to wear it.
“It’s bulky. It’s difficult to move in and it restricts your movement to some degree. They’re hot,” he said. “But you have to give to get, you have to say the benefit of it possibly saving my life outweighs the aggravation of the discomfort.”
Most road deputies have long worn body armor in their day to day duties. However, the Sheriff’s new policy will put vests on others who are in less contact with the public. Baliffs, detectives, process servers and other non-uniformed police will still be required to wear the vest.
“Whether answering 911 calls, baliffing a courtroom, or writing a citation, there’s always a risk of somebody pulling a gun on you,” said Humphreys. “The sheriff wants to make sure all officers have a vest and they are wearing them.”