Hazleton Police Get Grant for New Protective Vests

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HAZLETON -- The Hazleton Police Department just received a lifesaving grant to help them get some new protective vests.

"This is our lifeline," officer Brett Green said. "We get shot. We get hurt -- anything. This protects everything."

The grant is about $6,000 and is meant to pay for 50 percent of each vest the department buys.

"So, it's a savings to the taxpayers," Chief Jerry Speziale said. "It's lifesaving for the officers, so that's really what it is all about."

People in Hazleton Newswatch 16 spoke with said they're happy to learn the grant benefits them, too.

"I hope it is saving me money," Nancy Velaquez said. "I think it's something good for the Hazleton Police."

Last week's shooting that injured a state trooper in Northampton County is still on the minds of many officers in our area. Hazleton's police chief said he knows first-hand how important having proper bulletproof vests is these days.

"I was shot and wounded, so I know that feeling," Speziale said. "You never know."

Part of the grant requires the department to buy higher quality vests that will better protect against bullets and stab wounds. It's that level of protection that gives officers peace of mind.

"We feel protected in them and that's why they are essential to have," Green said. "At the end of the day, when you take it off, it's like, 'OK, I'm going home safe tonight.'"

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