Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says he'll ask the Legislature for up to $20 million to provide more heavily fortified bullet-proof vests to Texas' 40,000 police officers on regular patrol.
Patrick said at a Wednesday news conference that the goal is to furnish officers with special — and costly — vests capable of stopping high-caliber rifle bullets.
He noted that when a sniper killed five Dallas police officers in July, all were wearing less protective vests, and two had rounds pierce their vests.
Patrick said the issue is a top priority, even if the state budget lawmakers will approve after the Legislature convenes in January will be tighter as oil prices stay low. He also wants property tax exemptions for spouses of police officers and other emergency personnel killed on duty.
There has already been a lot of praise among rank and file officers getting word of the initiative.
Dallas Police Sgt. Willie Ford with the Black Police Association said, “This is100% positive. Long overdue, but definitely something that helps all first responders."
The acting president of the Dallas Police Association released a statement urging all senators and representative to back this initiate to give officers better crime fighting tools and to help provide financial assistance for families of those lost in the line of duty.
The lieutenant governor would also like to make July 7 a day to remember the five slain Dallas officers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.