Area business and individuals donated a total of $19,500 to purchase 25 ballistic vests for city police, Patrolman Grant Yoder said Monday at the Pottsville City Council’s October meeting.

While local businesses have helped the city purchase bulletproof vests in the past, “This is the first time we’ve had this many contributors,” police Capt. Ronald J. Moser said.

The donations covered the entire cost of new Type II vests for the department’s 25 full-time officers. The city is purchasing the vests from Starr Uniform, Scranton, Yoder said.

Representatives of some of the donor businesses attended the council’s meeting to hear Yoder and Lisa Santos, a sales representative of Starr Uniform, make a presentation.

“These days what’s going on with fundraising like this is nothing new. It’s going (on) all over,” Santos said. “I’ve seen it all over Pennsylvania and New York. Budgets are tight and it’s not necessarily the city or the township’s fault. It’s the way things are right now.”

The last time the city purchased new vests was in 2005. Ballistic vests traditionally expire in five years.

“Ours will expire in November, basically in the next 30 to 40 days,” Yoder said.

Yoder said he started soliciting donations to buy new ones in May.

“He did all the legwork himself. He did a grand job,” said Mayor John D.W. Reiley.

“There were some grants out there we were trying to get, but the funding is kind of drying up – federal funding,” Yoder said. “So we managed to secure financing for all the vests, our bill for $19,500, replacing 25 vests for our officers, from area contributors.”

The mayor and the council thanked all of the contributors. They include the law firm of Riley, Fanelli, Evans and Patel; Bob Weaver Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram; Empire Education Group; J.P. Mascaro & Sons, Audubon; Wal-Mart Distribution Center at Highridge Business Park and private donors, Yoder said.

Source: Stephen J. Pytak for Republican Herald.

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