The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation made a $1 million donation Tuesday to help provide bulletproof vests for Chicago Police officers.
The donation could cover the cost of 2,500 new bulletproof vests, according to a statement from the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
The donation was made as part of the “Get Behind the Vest” initiative, a fundraising campaign that aims to raise $4 million to replace 8,000 outdated vests in use by officers, the foundation said.
“As you might expect, the most dangerous part of a police officer’s job is related to gun violence. Often, the only protection officers have are their bulletproof vests,” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said in the statement. “But if the vest is too old and worn to provide full protection, one bullet can be deadly.”
The material that provides protection against gunshots deteriorates over time because of exposure to heat, moisture and daily use and storage, the foundation said. Manufacturers recommend that vests be replaced every five years.
The Chicago Police Department provides officers with new vests upon graduation from the police academy, but they are required to purchase their own vests after that at a starting cost of $500, the statement said.
The fundraising campaign plans to use donations to cover 80 percent of the cost of a new vest for officers and 75 percent of the cost for supervisors, according to the foundation.