Mounds Police Chief Says Small Town Struggles With Tight Budget

Thursday, April 23rd 2015, 11:22 pm
By: Tess Maune

Here in Green Country some of the smaller departments can't afford to buy protective gear. In Mounds, they have three full-time officers and five reserves - and not all of them have bulletproof vests.

Mounds Chief Tim McDaniel says his bulletproof vest is one of the most important pieces of his uniform. But with a tight budget, many small town departments have to put some things, regardless of how important they may be, on a wish list.

"We worked off a $135,000 total last year," he said. "Unfortunately vests get shuffled back to the very back, and we do have officers out here that aren't wearing them.

"You make a hundred traffic stops and never have a problem and you make that 101st traffic stop and that might be the time you need that vest the most."

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His vest came with a $750 price tag.

"They're very expensive, but obviously you look at what's a life worth?" McDaniel said.

The department was able to pay for the chief's vest. The assistant chief had one of his own. And his third officer wears a vest donated by the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

Because bulletproof vests have an expiration date, Tulsa County is required to replace them every five years.

But some of the used protective gear is still in good condition. And as Chief McDaniel will tell you - a used vest is better than nothing at all.

"It's very helpful to the smaller communities, and we really appreciate what they do," said Mounds Chief of Police Tim McDaniel.

Tulsa County says it's donated hundreds of bulletproof vests over the years to departments that can't afford to by their own.

McDaniel said reserve officers are just as vulnerable as full time officers, but said a few of his reserves still need vests. McDaniel said he plans to send a request to Tulsa County in hopes of getting a few more bulletproof vests.