The Routt County Sheriff’s Office depends on vests such as this to keep officers like detention deputy Bryan Wojtkicwicz and patrol corporal Ryan Adrian safe on the job. The Routt County Sheriff’s Office is hoping to outfit its detention deputies and update the vests patrol officers wear with the help of a federal grant that will cover 50 percent of the $12,500 out of budget cost.

Photo by John F. Russell

The Routt County Sheriff’s Office depends on vests such as this to keep officers like detention deputy Bryan Wojtkicwicz and patrol corporal Ryan Adrian safe on the job. The Routt County Sheriff’s Office is hoping to outfit its detention deputies and update the vests patrol officers wear with the help of a federal grant that will cover 50 percent of the $12,500 out of budget cost.

Routt County Sheriff's Office seeks funds for bulletproof vests

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— Routt County Undersheriff Ray Birch will ask the county commissioners Tuesday to approve spending $6,300 to replace dated and ill-fitting bulletproof vests for his deputies.

Sheriff Garrett Wiggins said his department has a mandatory policy that requires patrol deputies to wear one of the vests under their uniform shirts while on duty. Jail deputies don’t typically wear a vest unless they leave the jail, for example, to transport a prisoner.

Wiggins said his department doesn’t have a vest for each deputy and those it does have are beyond warranty and apt to be less effective at stopping bullets because of extensive wear.

“We’ve got hand-me-downs, and swapping them is not a good idea,” Wiggins said Monday. “The warranty is for five years, and after that many years of constant wrinkling, it breaks the material down.”

Wiggins said it’s important that each vest be custom fitted to its user to avoid gaps that might allow a bullet to strike an unprotected part of the body. Manufacturers also make a separate line of vests to fit female officers.

Birch will ask the commissioners to purchase 18 vests. Those vests are not in the budget. The actual cost is $12,600 (they cost $700 each), but he has already received approval for reimbursement of half that amount through a federal Department of Justice program created by Congress in 1998.

Birch credited Cpl. Ryan Adrian with initiating the federal process and following through on the paperwork. The program is administered in Colorado by state government, and under that program, Burch also is asking the commissioners to waive their competitive bidding process that would typically apply.

A business called Neve’s Uniforms Inc. has a relationship with state government for the bulletproof vest program.

Specifically, the Sheriff’s Office is seeking to purchase the Survival Armor Phoenix6 IIIA vest. The letters IIIA indicate a threat level, or the ability of the vest to stop various types of ammunition, Wiggins said.

That particular model can stop some rifle bullets as well as some smaller-caliber rounds that have high rates of velocity, he added.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

Ludicrous. When was the last time somebody shot at a deputy in this County? The jailers don bulletproof vests to transport prisoners in the tunnel between RCSO and the Injustice Center? I imagine they do; full HazMat is required to handle the deadly weed.

Spend it while you can. I can't WAIT for this country to go belly-up.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

I thought that many deputies have their own vests. So that they can have one that fits well and they know is being properly taken care off.

So my question is whether these new vests would be used.

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1999 2 years, 8 months ago

mmmmm... I have to pay out of pocket for materials, clothing etc for my job. of course it's tax deductable.

I say...have each LE person buy their own, hopefully at a discount rate, get a tax deduction and then they own it. They care for it. It moves from job to job with them. it fits them.

getting half paid for with a grant makes it quite affordable for each indivual officer.

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gettinold 2 years, 8 months ago

If we follow fome of the "logic" above our soilders should buy their own bullets and Firefighters should buy their own helmets. Rhys is your stance wait til someone is shot then we could consider it a reasonable expence. I understand for you all government spending = bad . To quote you ludicrous. If you can do this so much better than everyone else step up an run for office, prove it. But I believe you are happy to sit back and complain.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 8 months ago

I try to stay out of discussions with you Rhys but I am drug into this by your distaste for law enforcement. Of course if I had lost my drivers liscense for DUI and was a chronic MMJ user looking over my shoulder I would not like law enforcement either. I suppose you want to wait till a Deputy is shot and killed and then buy vests.How much do you think it would cost the county if a deputy were shot and killed? How would you have felt if your brother the policeman on the front range had been shot and killed rather than cancer taking him? When you were a Marine in Vietnam I bet you would have loved to had some form of body armor provided by the U.S. government. I agree that most probably 50% of government spending=bad but not money spent to protect Law enforcement, firefighters, and the military. The least we can do is try to protect those who would protect us.

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1999 2 years, 8 months ago

of course going into LE is a choice right?

so why not chose to buy a piece of equipment that fits you and you take care of it.

no one has forced these people to work in LE

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1999 2 years, 8 months ago

if these vests are so dated why wasn't this addressed in the budget?

did they JUST become dated? just become ill fitting?

if fit and care is a matter of life or death...I would get my own. seems like just good common sense

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Brian Kotowski 2 years, 8 months ago

If life & death is part of the job description, adequate safeguards, precautions, and protection ought to be provided by the employer. Seems like just good common sense.

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Brian Kotowski 2 years, 8 months ago

Piggybacking on gettinold's observation... if we extend 1999's 'logic', then construction workers should be required to provide their own hard hats. Iron workers their own tethers & carabiners when they're working 100 feet off the ground. Firefighters their own retardant gear and oxygen. Miners their own lighting and filter masks. Healthcare workers their own surgical masks and latex gloves. Pilots their own radios, radar, and GPS. After all, nobody forced them into those vocations.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

When I worked construction, I supplied my own hard hat, gloves, and steel-toe boots. Now in the kitchen, I am responsible for my own slip-resistant shoes. My brother supplied his own safety equipment when a cop -- I went shopping with him once -- but now the State Dept. outfits him. None of my employers ever supplied any of my safety equipment, except for flimsy safety vests which I replaced with a better one anyway.

I find myself called a deadbeat, drunk, and chronic pot abuser, all in the same day. All because I can't afford insurance, and think one should take responsibility for their own safety.

Any cheap dig you can, right? Discrediting the source does not make the argument go away. I'm sure the new vehicles and light bars are also necessary for safety. Can't forget HazMat suits, if they find the devil weed. Spend it all, the sooner the better.

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sledneck 2 years, 8 months ago

That's funny! You state that you think [people] should "take responsibility for their own safety" in this thread. In the thread on Bob Sermo's article you say that you don't carry medical insurance and expect to just "show up at the ER and get free treatment" 'cause they have to 'cause "they took an oath"...
That is profoundly IRRESPONSIBLE and thus contradictory.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

Most of our less-obtuse readers probably realize I was making a point, not taking me literally, as some are wont to do. My VA takes care of me, on those rare occasions I need it. I haven't seen an ER in decades, because I am familiar with physics, and can successfully avoid that.

Comparing apples to oranges is poor debating technique. Prevention and cure are two different subjects, and if I thought somebody might shoot at me, you can bet I would protect myself, even at my own expense, hopefully avoiding the ER. Logic is best left to the logical.

Now go back and feed the cows, on the land your great-great-grandpappy stole from the Utes. We don't need to hear what you read about poverty.

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1999 2 years, 8 months ago

look, if perfect fit is a matter of life and death I would have my own. I would rely on myself and not what someone chooses to buy me. if that was me and my vest and fit was a matter of life or death ... iI would have my own. I wouldn't count on someone else buying or supplying what could be MY LIFE!

we're being told that perfect fit is mandatory for protection. so...how many LE people are the same size? exactly?

of course some people like to rely on the gov for that stuff but.....I guess I don't.

I would buy, carry, care for and use my own.

but some people like to have everything bought for them by taxpayers.

oh and back to the budget...so these things just became dated? really? they didn't know this when the 2011 budget was approved? they just became dated and worn out?

so what happened was...they chose not to put this in the annual budget knowing that they could play the sympathy card later to gain support while putting other things in the budget.

interesting.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

sled -- please see my attempt to bury the hatchet in the other forum. I'd rather not get into a pissing contest.

1999 -- I agree totally. Big Bro' saw to his own safety, as would I. You raise many valid points, regarding sizes, aging, budgets, and not least of all, whether I would trust whatever they handed me.

I DID have armor, back in the Suck, a flak jacket I misappropriated. But the damn thing was so heavy, and bulky, before long I realized it was a hindrance and liability, much more than any protection it offered. Without it, I could duck even faster. But by the time you hear the shot, it's too late; the bullet got there first, sounding like a fast angry bee. Getting over-confident in your protective gear can be deadlier than not having it at all. A calm, level head is the best protection you can't buy. But it still can't hurt to get down.

I'd get my own, whatever the County bought, which will sit on the shelf, or walk through the tunnel. NONE of 'em will stop a 7.62 (.308) anyway. False security. Good thing we don't get many firefights hereabouts.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

Well, at least this proposed expenditure is better than the $400 that Town of Oak Creek spent on the Town Clerk's retirement party.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

I misspoke, slightly. NIJ Type III (rifle) WILL stop 7.62, they say, but my flak jacket wouldn't have. If the County didn't supply that standard, I wouldn't wear it anyway. I'd still want my own, whatever they bought.

Scott's party sounds like a lot more fun, and I don't hear anybody complaining about that. Well, Scott.

They're gonna do what they're gonna do, and this is just so much hot air.

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sledneck 2 years, 8 months ago

Most flack jacket type vests stop most pistol rounds... and shot from a shotgun; stuff that's not going really fast.

Stopping AP ammo from a high powered (high velocity) rifle requires ceramic plates which are very heavy and nobody is gonna be wearing them for a 8 hr shift... unless they are in a really hot area... NOT routt county. I would not trust ANY basic jacket to stop even a very basic high velocity rifle round.

Flack jackets also will not stop a knife blade, arrowhead or a shot to the head, leg, arm or neck. Shoot the average guy in the toe and he is no longer a concern... just saying.

If the deputies want and need them they should get them as part of the job. Take the money out of some other fluffy project and get the damn things.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 8 months ago

Rhys---I did not call you anything. I merely recounted stories from your past that you have posted here before. Do you have a dislike for law enforcement or not?

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heboprotagonist 2 years, 8 months ago

I think the vests should be supplied by the department. I also think the vests should be part of the budget.

Who's fault is it that vests weren't included in the budget to begin with?

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

jlc -- Not at all. LE serves a very important function in society. I may have issues with some of the laws they are charged with enforcing. Plus, in small markets such as this, they are typically staffed with kid cops, just out of school or the military, with axes to grind and gung-ho attitudes.

In my last hoo-rah, five years ago, the officer approached my vehicle from the rear, on River Road, at no less than 60 MPH, timing his arrival to coincide with the apex of the tightest curve north of Tree Haus, then cited swerving as his probable cause, when I strayed over the center line for no more than 10 feet, as I surveyed this new threat in my rearview. No other traffic was present.

I was ill-clad to be performing roadsides in the new pouring rain -- my knees were literally knocking, as he had me doing heel-toe on the slippery, rocky slope next to the road. In court, said officer claimed I failed all 6 areas of the Nystagmus test, which he never administered due to the pouring rain, and that evidence was his only "concrete" evidence. On the written report he said I wore contacts, while the booking photo shows me in my full-time glasses. Had he truly administered that test, he would have known my preferred vision correction. Then in court -- where I incompetently defended myself, the State refusing to supply me with a PD -- when I questioned this inconsistency (either his written report, or the booking photo, was in error) it took the ADA leading him several times into testifying it was a simple "mistake."

After I initially refused the breath test in my indignation, one of the jailers I had known previously convinced me to supply a breath sample, but wouldn't show me the results, just put me back in the holding cell. When I asked him weeks later what the results of that test were, he said "I don't know what you're talking about, I wasn't working that night." So they buried the breath sample I provided.

Leading questions, showboating, there were several dirty tricks pulled by the ADA which would have never flown past a competent attorney, but I missed in my ignorance, and Judge G let slide.

So if the cops will blatantly lie, and the Court lets it ride, can you blame me for being bitter? Real cops in real towns are not nearly so petty, as they know what real crime is. Here they manufacture crime, as it is a revenue source.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

When Gary Wall was charged with DUI, the local Court recused itself, citing conflict of interest and their "close working relationship" with RCSO.

That tells me they CAN'T be objective, as they are essentially the same team.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

Considering the Sheriff's dept is responsible for security at the local courts including the courtroom bailiff, that would certainly create a plausible appearance of a conflict of interest. But it is a huge leap to take that and say that judges are obligated to do what the police say.

Might as well say because the DA and judges are both paid by government that they are part of the same team. And since the public defender's office is paid by government then they are also part of the same team.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

Considering the Sheriff's dept is responsible for security at the local courts including the courtroom bailiff, that would certainly create a plausible appearance of a conflict of interest. But it is a huge leap to take that and say that judges are obligated to do what the police say.

Might as well say because the DA and judges are both paid by government that they are part of the same team. And since the public defender's office is paid by government then they are also part of the same team.

And so you refused to take a breath test, but later decided to have a friendly deputy with no witnesses or documentation give you a test? And you are surprised the judge didn't buy that story?

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

Scott, Scott... I never tried to fly that story by the judge, already knowing the futility. Doesn't mean it didn't happen.

If the Judge tacitly lets injustice stand, deaf to the lies, which are obvious...

Go ahead, beat this dog some more, show your expertise. You so smart.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

Rhys, It's the county court that has the close working relationship with the district attorney, public defender, police dept. and rcso. It is a conflict of interest but they don't care. It was posted a couple of years ago that "if you want justice - at The Hall of Justice- you need to go to the second floor". BTW- jerry carlton is retired law enforcement. Prison system or something like that. Is that correct jerry?

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

Ain't a cop in this town, could carry my brother's lunch box.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

Hwy, It seem to me that jerry posted, a while back, that he was a retired prison guard.

Sometimes Scott is right on. This isn't one of those times. Scott couldn't deal with the lower courts "conflict of interest". He gets upset about $400.00 being spent on a party!

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greenwash 2 years, 8 months ago

Do they make bullet proof vests that fit over big bellys ?

Give "sheriff of the year" Pat Sullivan a call ...He may know how to get some BP vests for FREE !!

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cheesehead 2 years, 8 months ago

Required PPE should be provided by the employer.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 8 months ago

Rhys--I worked as a corrections officer for 5 years at the Yakima County Jail in Yakima Washington. I started that job 19 years ago. I am fully retired now. I worked 10 of the 14 years I have lived here driving Alpine taxi, Meadows shuttle, propane truck, city bus, dump truck, and last but not least, a delivery truck to Grand County for 6 years. Had over 300,000 miles over Rabbit Ears on that job. I have had nothing but good experiences with RCSO, SSPD, and CSP. Guess they know I respect and like them. My 5 years in a jail gave me some close up experience with how drug abuse can ruin lives.

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callguinness 2 years, 8 months ago

I tried and tried to stay out of this, but here goes.

The federal law states that if your employer is going to require you to wear protective equipment, they are required to pay for that equipment and its upkeep. This can be done in several ways, including equipment allowances, or straight out paying for it. The article clearly states that the RCSO requires the deputies to wear these vest, they are therefore required to somehow pay for the purchase and maintenance of these vest. The point that the officers are free to buy their own vest is valid and some of them have done so, still doesn't excuse the requirement of the county to buy and maintain vest for them.

So far as the budget is concerned, you are all correct that this should have been a foreseen budget item that should have been placed in the regular budget.

Highway- I would agree that most of the public safety in this area are short on the experience scale. There are several that have found a way to make it work and have been here for quite some time, but most don't. Most of them come here start working in what seems like paradise, then they come to realize that their pay is so low, they can't support a family here and move on to higher paying jobs elsewhere. They don't leave because they don't like the job or where they live, they leave because they can't afford to stay. This is what perpetuates the young blood look of all the public safety here in the valley.

I'm fairly confident that if there were an article tomorrow about paying them more you would be the first in line to say, that they are already over paid. So what is it, do you want "kid cops, just out of school or the military, with axes to grind and gung-ho attitudes" or would like to pay them more and have them be calmer from someplace else and have more experience? You can't have both.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

call -- It's a natural progression -- those qualified move on to bigger markets and more money, while the incompetent and those with attitudes find something else to do. Ever read "The Peter Principle"? One rises to his level of incompetence, then stays there.

I'll take the rookies, even and especially at lower pay, just to live here.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

jerry -- Isn't driving fun? I drove over a half million miles over the last 15 years, (-5) albeit a smaller vehicle, and at all hours of the day or night, winter, summer... and I got along GREAT with every cop that busted me; one even apologized!! I got no problem with cops. I drove by so many more. Most let me go. (ha-ha)

This in pursuit of my computer venture, yet to pay millions.

Last time in court, Judge G said "You still driving that thing?" (yes) Apparently my reputation precedes me, or they have marked my truck with an indelible bullseye.

That's why I walk now.

Your life sounds so exciting!! And you're right, drugs are bad.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

jlc -- still jammin to th OZ -- I love Jelly Roll -- and lest I be mistaken: Don't think I haven't contributed to our community. I shot video for Ski Corp. (network stuff) helped newbies learn how to ski (well, get on the chair, half the battle) baled hay for your cows, balanced your books, roasted your coffee, checked in your guests, programmed the software which booked them -- favoring YOU over Telluride, Snowmass, Jackson, Deer Valley, Winter Park, and many clients more hospitable than YOU, just because YOU were YOU, and here I was -- and many other objectionable tasks.

Anybody gonna chip in on my firewall? I'm terribly insecure.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

Not to digress: Changed my mind. Get 'em their vests. I'm all in.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

Rhys, I was not claiming to have legal expertise. I am just pointing out that just because they acknowledge an appearance of a conflict of interest when having the sitting sheriff as a defendant when his staff is providing courtroom security does not mean that they are admitting the judges are biased for the sheriff's dept in all other cases.

And $400 is real money for the Town of Oak Creek. That is about what they expect to save annually by the ballot measure that ended the requirement that the Town publish new ordinances. It is twice what they've budgeted for Labor Day.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

This is the only jurisdiction I know of where bailiffs are armed in the courtroom.

Probably a wise decision.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

screamer, I'm sure that photo is just a case of bad lighting. It's good to see your still around. Check in more often.

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Matt Helm 2 years, 7 months ago

It's funny to see all the same people with unfounded useless information keep commenting on all kinds of subjects...

Rhys-- Just so you know, bailiffs are never armed. The court security personnel are, but that's because most shootings at courthouses all over the U.S. are at the entrance where law enforcement is trying to keep weapons out! Do some actual research before you comment. The jail staff is responsible for a lot more than many citizens know about.

Also, not many people in Law Enforcement buy their own vest. Most would love to have Dragon Skin vests, but not many have the $3,000 plus. Vests also expire after about 5 years, so replacements and new hires need to be considered as well.

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rhys jones 2 years, 7 months ago

Whoever those guys in uniforms were working for in the courtroom, they had real guns on their hips. I observed this from the defendant's table, the gun side -- where were you sitting?

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Matt Helm 2 years, 7 months ago

Those are not bailiffs. Those are Jail Deputies with the real guns. They also do prisoner transports all over the state, so they kind of need those guns and vests... just so you know!

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rhys jones 2 years, 7 months ago

When they're doing the transfers, I'm sure they need the guns. Not in court.

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Matt Helm 2 years, 7 months ago

Maybe they don't trust the metal detectors and x-ray machines as much as you do. They are not nearly as strict as TSA!

So you think they need guns/vests for transports, but not in court? The same deputies do multiple jobs because this is such a small county. Just because you don't want to see deputies with guns in court doesn't mean much!!!

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rhys jones 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm just thinking of all the dangerous criminals, first time they've been in the same room with a gun in months, must look awful tempting to some. Begging trouble, IMNSHO.

Guns are part of the psyche, the persona. Every one is Wyatt Earp around here.

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rhys jones 2 years, 7 months ago

I just googled "bailiff" images to prove my point, and was disappointed to learn there are other jurisdictions as ill-advised as ours. A minor percentage, but a few.

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Matt Helm 2 years, 7 months ago

That's why the incarcerated individuals wear belly chains and leg shackles. It's very hard to fight that way. The deputies are armed because you never know what the general public is going to do. You have to consider that some people in the court might hate or love a person incarcerated. That kind of passion can cause many problems. Most shootings in courthouses are probably domestic related. Divorces, child custody battles, and other related issues are what the deputies really have to watch out for.

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rhys jones 2 years, 7 months ago

That's one thing that occurred to me, what if the perp's buddy in the audience grabbed the gun and made demands. Metal detectors prevented him from bringing his own, Desperation knows no bounds. I still that room should be gun-free.

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Kristopher Hammond 2 years, 7 months ago

What is wrong with the transport deputies being armed?

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rhys jones 2 years, 7 months ago

Nothing. What's wrong with courtroom deputies being armed? Everything.

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