Officers get vests thanks to CBS5 phone bank

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It was a story that made national news - a Phoenix police officer was injured when a bullet went through his protective vest.

Additional testing determined the vest was not safe, leading agencies across the state to re-evaluate what their officers were wearing.

CBS5 immediately teamed up with the 100 Club and Cox Communications and raised more than $16,000 to help buy new protective vests for officers who need them.

"Some people were giving $25 and we had several very generous donations," said 100 Club Executive Director Sharon Knutson-Felix. "Sometimes $25 donations are what brought tears to my eyes because it was the most they could give."

Friday, Arizona's Department of Economic Security was presented with eight new vests to be given to undercover officers who serve warrants and investigate fraud.

"You work in a covert manner and it is important for them to have body armor to protect themselves," said Dale Doucet with DES. "People we do food stamp investigations on often have violent criminal histories, including murder."

So far, the 100 Club has provided at least 26 new vests to officers across the state, thanks to the money raised from the Pay it Forward Phone Bank.

Nine officers from the Miami, AZ Police Department didn't have any vests, but they do now.

"The vests that these officers are getting is a level 3A vest, which is the highest level for soft body armor," said Lyman Andeson with GMS Tactical.

CBS5 has learned that some agencies can't afford to buy protective vests for officers, while other agencies pay a portion of the cost, leaving officers to pay the rest.

A protective vest can cost around $1,000.

The goal here is to make sure every officer across the state is well protected.

"We don't want to just show up when there's tragedy," Knutson-Felix said. "We want to be preventative."

Copyright 2012 KPHO (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.