Lee County Commissioners today approved $142,000 in emergency funding to replace bulletproof vests that may not adequately protect deputies. Sheriff Mike Scott asked for the money to buy 309 new bulletproof vests as replacements for defective ones. Commissioners unanimously approved the emergency expenditure – but questioned why a department with a budget of more than $100 million needed to tap the general fund. Commissioners also questioned how the department’s last administration – under Rod Shoap - had the money to give pay raises and promotions before Sheriff Scott took over. Commissioner John Albion says rising expenses are beginning to break the bank. But, he doesn’t question the need to replace defective bullet-proof vests.
“So there must be some happy medium here that we can work out that is going to really protect the public without having these skyrocketing situations. And this is obviously a drop in the bucket by comparison – and there’s no way any one of us want to see anything less than the best equipment to make sure these people are safe out there. Anything less would be a slap in the face to people who absolutely don’t deserve it.”
The company that made the old vests - Second Chance Body Armor - has declared bankruptcy. Sheriff Scott says his staff is looking at ways to recover money paid to that company.
Wednesday, 29 June 2005 01:00