Dec. 24, 2003 — The V.I. Police Department and local security officers have had an early visit from a "Secret Santa," according to a release from Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards.
And under the Christmas tree, our police and security officers are finding something new to wear — not a cashmere robe, not a pin-stripe shirt, but vests — bulletproof vests.
The benefactor, who prefers to remain anonymous, is providing more than $20,000 for the express purchase of 50 bulletproof vests: nine "Xtreme Level II" concealable vests, and 41 "Impulse No. 10 Level II" vests.
For those in the technical know, the Xtreme Level II vests use a combination of three ballistic materials: Quadralink Kevlar, Goldflex, and Spectra Shield Plus, according to a distributor's Web site. By National Institute of Justice Standards, the site says, "the Level II armor protects against 357 Magnum JSP bullets and 9mm FMJ bullets."
Weighing 2.1 pounds in the regular or large sizes, it measures .163" in thinness, it would seem not uncomfortable or noticeable to wear.
No technical details were found for the Impulse vests.
Lack of equipment is a complaint of Police personnel at every budget hearing. There was irony in a St. Thomas situation in May of this year when police responded to a shooting incident in downtown Charlotte Amalie and detained 12 individuals. (See Police seize weapons, ammo, bulletproof vests.) Among items seized during the incident were eight brand-new bulletproof vests, "still in their packages."
"This donation by an EDC [Economic Development Commission] beneficiary is in the true spirit of the holidays," Richards said in the release. "The generosity of our growing business community is welcomed and appreciated. Through the support of our private sector, working hand in hand with the Virgin Islands government, these islands will prosper and become a safer place to raise our children."
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