The Morgan County Sheriff's Office says the county commission will be paying for 40 new bulletproof vests.
The total cost could be around $40,000.
"That's an unusual purchase," spokesperson Mike Swafford said.
Swafford explained that the office usually replaces a couple of vests at a time as they expire every 5 years and as they hire new deputies. But sometime in the past, the office decided to buy new vests in bulk, leaving them with the estimated $40,000 bill.
The new vests will be better for deputies by allowing them to get rid of their duty belts. All of the deputy's equipment will now be clipped on the vest itself. That will take the pressure off the officer's back and hips and puts the weight on their shoulders.
The sheriff's office says the county commission decided on Tuesday to receive bids to buy the 40 vests. At this time, it is unclear how much money exactly they will be spending, as the commission will go with the lowest bid.
Despite the heavy cost, the sheriff's office says the vests are necessary to keep deputies safe.
"In 2019 in Alabama, we had several officers killed by gunfire. Vests aren't a guarantee as we saw in the Huntsville shooting, but they're the best tool we have to give our deputies when they face the unknown, which is what they face every day," Swafford said.
The sheriff's office says it now plans to start setting funds aside every year to avoid another heavy bill when it needs to replace the new vests in the future.
"They have to have that protection. They don't even have to think about it, so that they can do their job to the best of their abilities and not have to worry about protection," Swafford said.