St. Pete Police get new body armor vests

The vests can deflect assault rifle bullets
Posted at 7:26 PM, Apr 18, 2017

St. Petersburg Police Department has a new tool to protect the men and women who keep us safe.

Officers are wearing brand new body armor vests Tuesday. The vests weigh less than 4 pounds, which is much lighter than the old vests, which were 20 pounds.

They also help the officer carry more gear on their chest instead of their gun belt. That's better to distribute weight off of an officer's back and hips.

Yet, the most important part of the custom vests: They can deflect the bullets of high powered assault rifles. That means more officers like Amy Dewitt can make it home to their families every night. 

“It’s a promise I make every morning before I leave the house to my whole family."

Dewitt says the new vests will help keep she and her fellow officers safe from the "bigger and badder" guns on the streets. "We are brothers and sisters out here even if it’s not by blood. It’s our loss to everybody’s family if something happens to one of us.”

St. Petersburg is one of the first departments in the country to get the lighter and stronger bullet proof vests.

By Friday, every officer in the department will have one. 

After the Dallas police shooting, Lorraine Yaslowitz-Marino, the wife of fallen St. Pete Police K9 Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz, donated the first 40 vests. City Council chipped in a little more than $200,000 to provide the vests to the rest of the department.