Burnet City Council members unanimously approved the purchase of new bulletproof vests and vest components for the police department at their March 10 meeting.
While the police department initially requested $10,000 to buy seven vests and assorted components to upgrade its existing stocks, the City Council amended the action to give the department $25,000.
The requested $10,000 would have only achieved a minimum level of compliance for the department.
Councilor Cindia Talamantez said she wanted every police officer to have a bulletproof vest.
“I don’t want to have it on my heart that we couldn’t afford for everybody to have a tactical vest because we’re too cheap,” Talamantez said. “I don’t want it on my conscience.”
City Manager David Vaughn suggested the $25,000 figure to give the police department leeway on purchasing the new vests.
“This way, we can have time to be sure we have it right,” Vaughn said. “I don’t want to tell you a number that’s wrong.”
Currently, a few Burnet police officers are wearing outdated or ill-fitting vests. Many vests have outlived their life expectancy, said Burnet Fire Chief Mark Ingram, who presented the proposal on behalf of the police department.
“We were trying to take small steps at this,” Ingram said of the initial request. “By October, under the new budget, we’d be there. This is getting us outfitted for those in loaner vests and those in vests that are expired.”
At Councilor Joyce Laudenschlager’s recommendation, the council amended the action to partly fund the purchase with police department seizure money.