DENVER - The Department of Corrections is purchasing new, custom-fitted ballistic vests after the CALL7 Investigators exposed parole officers were issued expired vests or none at all.
A community parole officer told CALL7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta in an exclusive interview during May that officers were often lacked appropriate safety gear. He said some of the vests issued by the DOC had expired five years ago.
In June, the warden for the Division of Parole sent an email to staff announcing the department would be purchasing new equipment. Marchetta obtained a copy of email and reported that it promised 76 new stun guns, 160 new holsters and 25 new radios but stopped short of promising new vests.
The June email said, "The discussion surrounding tactical/ballistic vests is and has been at the forefront of our discussions, and there appears to be many moving parts that must be taken into consideration as we move forward in developing a pland [sic] to address this issue."
Now, Marchetta has obtained a new email from parole warden Steve Hager. It promises that every community parole officer, team leader, supervisor and manager will be bought a Second Chance MR01 Monarch Summit Level IIIA ballistic vest.
"These ballistic vests will be custom ordered and individually fitted for each officer to ensure for their individual personal protection," Hager wrote in the email.
Each of the 269 new vests costs $682.95. The money, spokesman Roger Hudson says, will come from the existing DOC budget and they are expected to arrive in about 45 days.
Additionally, Hager's email announced a pending policy making it mandatory for the vests to be worn during pre-parole investigations and home visits.