MIDDLESEX COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- A determined Virginia sheriff that created a nationwide initiative to outfit every law enforcement officer with a bulletproof vest handed out vests in Middlesex County earlier this week.
Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown presented the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office with ten vests Tuesday.
"This is such a great relief because we are so rural, budgeting issues do come up. We did have a shortage. This will get us up to date and make us current,” Middlesex County Sheriff David Bushey.
Brown took action after he learned that an officer is killed in the U.S. every 53 hours in the line of duty. That statistic could be because more than 200,000 officers across the country do not have ballistic vests.
Brown said the vests are a critical resource every officer should have. As a result, Brown started "Protect the Protectors" initiative through the "Safe Surfin Program."
"Since its inception in the mid-70s, it has saved more than 3000 lives,” said Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown. “If you are out on the street and you hear that whiz go by -- and if you don't have on a vest -- start thinking real hard.”
That nonprofit collects money to purchase and donate bulletproof vests to law enforcement agencies.
"Protect the Protectors" has outfitted close to 100 officers around the country with the vests.