PRESTONSBURG – On the heels of a shooting in which a police officer nearly lost his life, changes are being made to protocols and procedures that affect the safety of Prestonsburg Police personnel.
Prestonsburg Police Chief Larry Woods says that following last weeks shooting officers will now be required to wear bullet proof vests while on duty. Woods confirmed to Times Staff last Friday that Officer Adam Dixon was not wearing a vest at the time of the shooting.
“He wasn’t wearing one. The policy was left up to the officers, but that’s changed,” said Woods. “It has changed of this shooting. They will wear their vests in uniform and BDU. I just bought them all new vests.”
Woods couldn’t say whether or not Dixon’s gun shot injury would have been prevented with a vest. “Who knows, it was pretty high on his sternum. It cold have. Possibly could have, but who knows.”
According to Police Chief Woods, the reason most often given for not wearing the vest is due to heat, particularly in the summer. “The excuse most officers have is its too hot. I’m guilty of it too.”
Woods said that as a Kentucky State Police trooper he would only put his vest on when he knew he was going to a bad call. “I would stop and throw my vest on. So I am guilty of it too, but from now on when I’m in uniform I will have a vest.”
According to Woods, the bullet proof vests are as important to an officer’s safety as a seat belt. They offer added protection against knives, and in the event of a car accident.
Woods says that in light of the attacks on police officers nationwide over the last year, it has become increasingly important for officers to use every means at their disposal to provide for their safety.
“The academy will teach you, how to approach a car, all this stuff. But facts are facts. a police officer is one of the easiest person’s to kill if you want to kill a person,” said Woods. “They can teach you all these things, but if someone wants to shoot you; you’re shot.”
“Every instance is different. Were trying to teach them how to better protect themselves.”
When asked if he believed that Officer Dixon was lucky Woods said that he felt so. “Yes I would say that he is lucky. Could very well have gone through his sternum and killed him. Lucky it went in (only) so far.”
Reach Jackson Latta at (606) 886-8506