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Second Chance Vests

By: Erika Kurre
By: Erika Kurre

Authorities in the Wiregrass may have been working the past few years with *defective* bullet-proof vests.

The jackets have been made by the nation's largest body armor manufacturer and are now being recalled.

The Houston County Sheriff's Office and Dothan Police Department are just two branches of authority in the Wiregrass who have used these products. Now, both are in the process of completely replacing them.

More than 50 deputies with the Houston County Sheriff's Department wear a bullet-proof vest made by Second Chance. Now, each vest is being inspected one by one.

Houston County Sheriff, Lamar Glover says, "We're going to replace every vest every officer has and right now, we're checking the tags for the number each officer has."

The company, which has a plant in Geneva, has found that a certain material in the vest, called zylon, degrades faster than expected from heat, light and moisture wearing down its ability to block bullets.

The company's vice president of sales and marketing, Matt Davis, says that "while second chance has not received any reports of field failures,...we strongly encourage all officers to replace ballistic vests that contain zylon as quickly as possible."

Dothan Police Chief John Powell says, "We've been notified a couple of times. The last notification was last week. So we've taken steps to replace them without that fiber."

The Dothan Police Department's replacements were funded through a program no longer offered by the manufacturer.

So with each vest costing more than $500 each, the Houston County Sheriff's Department will replace theirs through a federal grant program which covers 50 percent of the cost.

Neither the Dothan Police Department or Houston County Sheriff's Office have any record of the vests failing to protect an officer.

Still, Sheriff Lamar Glover says all their vests should be off the streets within the next few weeks.

The company sold nearly 100,000 of these vests containing zylon to law enforcement agencies across the United States.


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