GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Changes are coming to police vests in Grants Pass. Officers could start wearing vests on the outside of their uniforms. The Grants Pass City Council Safety just gave the okay to the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety to move from the internal vests to the external vest which officers say will make their jobs a lot easier. Many other law enforcement agencies already use these types of vests. The department said the external vests will help ease some weight off of their waists and distribute it more across their upper bodies.
"An officer with all of the equipment on a deputy belt can be carrying up to an extra 36 pounds of gear. That’s the equivalent of 4 gallons of milk all carried around the waist,” Grants Pass Department of Public Safety Operations Lieutenant, Misty English.
It will also allow officers to carry more tools.
"Right now, with everything being on the duty belt, depending on the size of the officer’s waist, they’re limited on the amount of equipment that they can carry. With adding the option of carrying equipment on the vest, it gives the officer, especially a smaller stature officer more room. They can carry lifesaving equipment such as a tourniquet or emergency medical kit,” English added. “If this is one more tool to help with safety and comfort than they are all behind it. The officers are all in support of this transition so hearing that the council supports that, that is definitely exciting."
The department of public safety still needs to buy those vests. Officers will not wear them until every officer is properly trained.