The Martin County Sheriff's Office is taking additional safety measures in light of recent shootings across the country. The department is handing out outer body armor to all of its deputies as an added layer of protection.
"We have to do everything we can in this industry, number one to protect them with the gear but number two for society to get it right and stop this insanity of mass murder," said Sheriff William Snyder.
Each vest weighs 20 pounds and costs $355. The department recently invested nearly $100,000 into the new gear as a way to make sure its deputies stay safe when responding to calls in the community.
"A rifle shot in here is going to be fatal and if he has his plate carrier on he's going to have a nice bruise but he's going to live to tell about it," said Sheriff Snyder.
On Thursday, Sheriff Snyder had one of his deputies demonstrate how the new equipment will be worn. Unlike the soft body armor deputies currently wear underneath a uniform, the new vest is to be worn on the outside. It's the last layer of protection between a deputy and potential gunfire.
"You can definitely tell there's the added weight," said deputy Justin Seigler.
Although it doubles the weight each deputy wears on a daily basis from 20 to 40 pounds, Sheriff Snyder said it means that his deputies are able to go home each night to their family.