Police officers in Longview’s traffic unit are now equipped with lighted safety vests to help keep them safe at night.
McCoy’s Building Supply, which has a store in Longview, donated 10 Lit Safety Vests to the department.
Police Chief Anthony Boone discovered the new Lit Safety Vests at a national police chief’s convention and wanted to bring them to his department. District 1 Councilman Tem Carpenter, who works for McCoy’s, was talking to Boone when the subject of the vests came up.
“We had a remarkably good year,” Carpenter said in a prepared statement. “For 98 years McCoy’s, a family-owned company, has given back to almost 100 communities where they have established their well-known stores. I asked the chief if he’d like us to buy some vests for his officers. He smiled and asked for five. I told him, ‘No; we’ll give you 10.’”
While many U.S. police and sheriff’s departments have standard-issue safety vests with reflective tape, the lights from first responder emergency vehicles overpower those high-visibility vests and in certain situations make the wearer seem invisible.
Cincinnati, Ohio-area police officer Don Campbell experienced the death of a fellow officer whose body was obscured while directing traffic. He vowed that he would design a LED vest to ensure that every law enforcement officer could be visible at night under every circumstance.
Campbell created a rechargeable LED vest. It glows through porous fabric. The strips placed inside the garment project a bright green glow through the small holes. It glows for 12 hours, and the battery is rechargeable and a switch can control the amount of light projected through the vest.
It is short enough for officers to still reach for their side arms and equipment on their belts. The Lit Safety Vest illuminates the wearer’s body, distinguishing the presence of an individual apart from nearby vehicles or competing lights.
“Our traffic officers now can use these at traffic events and when working crash scenes in the dark. This is another tool that improves officer safety,” the police chief said in a statement. “My agency thanks McCoy’s for generously donating the 10 life-saving vests to our department. If wearing them prevents even one injury, it’s worth the investment. I want my officers to remain safe so that they can return home to their families.”