The Walmart Foundation donated $15,000 Thursday to the Columbia Police Department for new bulletproof vests.
The money will buy 25 new vests at a cost of $650 each, said Michael Letts, founder of In-Vest USA, a local non-profit that purchases body armor for law enforcement officers. In-Vest worked with the foundation to buy the vests.
Bullet proof vests must be replaced every five years, said Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott. And, the department has recently hired 40 new officers, who need to be equipped. The vests are tailored for each officers size and body shape, Scott said.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin noted the donation was particularly relevant after Officer Alex Broder was shot at close-range April 27 in a traffic stop in Shandon.
A shot like that at close range could have killed the young patrolman but thankfully it was his fifth day on the job and not his last, Benjamin said.