Holes to fill in Ingham County Sheriff Department protective vests fund

(WLNS) – Ingham County Sheriff’s Department has received what they are calling “laughable” funds from federal agency.

Every year, law enforcement agencies across the country put in requests to the Bulletproof Vest Partnership through the Department of Justice, to help supply essential gear for officers.

This year, the response was nothing they could have anticipated.

They risk it all to save our lives every day, and protective vests save theirs.

“This is part of life,” Ingham County Training Division Sgt. James Every explained. “that’s part of the one tool that’s going to save your life”.

Statistically, more than 3,000 lives have been saved by protective armor vests, and almost every year local agencies look to the Federal Bulletproof Vest Partnership for grant money to replace old vests.

“Over time, and also through the elements, its going to start wearing off, its going to deteriorate part of the vest,” Sgt. Every told us.

In years past, Sgt. Every says the department has gotten about half of the amount needed to replace the vests that are not up to code.

“I’ve seen that grant money come forward in a very positive way for this office,” Sgt. Every said.

But this year, their funding came as a complete shock.

“When they brought it to me I thought my staff was pulling a prank on me,” Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth said.

Pocket change, almost literally, is what the department got. They requested $4,400, but the Sheriff says the amount didn’t come close to that.

“You’re not getting that, you’re getting ten dollars and 41 cents,” Sheriff Wriggelsworth recounted.

Just $10.41. Sheriff Wriggelsworth says its laughable considering just one vest cost around $700.

“Don’t give out these ten dollar awards,” Wriggeslworth said. “Bunch them together and give them to somebody who can use it”.

Now the Sheriff’s Department is faced with a life threatening problem, one the Sheriff says has to be solved.

“We’re going to have to kind of regroup on how we go about funding this project,” Wriggelsworth said.

That could mean tapping into the county’s emergency fund, if insurance doesn’t cover the cost.

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