Ballistic helmets and protective vests with steel plates now are standard equipment in all Broome County sheriff's office patrol vehicles.

Sheriff David Harder said the agency recently obtained the new gear which was purchased with money from the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Sheriff's office vehicles also are equipped with roll-up blankets that can be used to provide greater protection for deputies.

Lighter weight protective vests are routinely worn by deputies. The new vests with steel plates in front and back weigh 18 pounds. They offer greater protection during active shooter incidents or for situations where there's reason to believe deputies may encounter an armed person.

Harder said the sheriff's office in recent months also replaced all of the rifles in patrol vehicles. He said all vehicles now carry a rifle and a shotgun.

A protective blanket shield can be rolled up for storage in a patrol vehicle. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

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