CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Bulletproof vests will soon be a requirement for every sheriff’s deputy in West Virginia.

“When you get a gun, if you get a uniform, you’re going to get a vest as well, once you graduate from the State Police Academy,” West Virginia Sheriff’s Association Executive Director Rudi Raynes-Kidder said.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin made the requirement part of state law Monday, part of a State Capitol ceremony in which he signed legislation lawmakers approved during the Regular Legislative Session.

“This is just a no-brainer bill,” Raynes-Kidder said on Monday’s MetroNews Talkline. “It had to happen, and it should have been on the books a long time ago.”

She said funding is available for counties that cannot afford vests for lawmen.

“If, by any chance, your county says, ‘Look, this is really killing our budget. We really struggle,’ we here at the Sheriff’s Association have set up the InVEST Fund and we’ll be able to give them money and help them purchase those vests,” Raynes-Kidder said.

The other bills Tomblin signed into law Monday included legislation dealing with sexting among minors, human trafficking and the Contraband Forfeiture Act.



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