(Longview, Texas)–The Longview officers assigned to the Traffic Unit are safer at night thanks to a local family-owned business and an inventive Cincinnati, Ohio, police officer.
Police Chief Anthony Boone discovered the new Lit Safety Vest at a national police chief’s convention and wanted to bring this evolution in traffic vests to his agency.
McCoy’s Building Supply’s Tem Carpenter was talking to Chief Boone when the subject of the vests came up.
“We had a remarkably good year,” says Carpenter. “For 98 years McCoy’s, a family-owned company, has given back to almost 100 communities where they have established their well-known stores. I asked the Chief if he’d like us to buy some vests for his officers. He smiled and asked for five. I told him ‘no; we’ll give you 10.’”
While many U.S. police and sheriff’s departments have standard-issue safety vests, the lights from first responder emergency vehicles overpower those high visibility vests and in certain situations make the wearer seem invisible since the standard traffic vest just has reflective tape.
Cincinnati area police officer Don Campbell experienced the death of a fellow officer whose body was obscured while directing traffic. He vowed that he would design a LED vest to ensure that every law enforcement officer could be visible at night under every circumstance.
Campbell created an extremely bright and rechargeable LED vest. It glows through porous fabric through which the strips placed inside the garment project a bright green glow through the small holes. It glows for 12 straight hours with a light unlike any other. The battery is rechargeable and a switch can control the amount of light projected through the vest. It is short enough for officers to still easily reach for their side arms and equipment on their belts. Best of all, the Lit Vest illuminates the wearer’s body, distinguishing the presence of an individual apart from any nearby vehicles or competing lights.
Chief Boone says, “our traffic officers now can use these at traffic events and when working crash scenes in the dark. This is another tool that improves officer safety.
“My agency thanks McCoy’s for generously donating the 10 life-saving vests to our department. If wearing them prevents even one injury, it’s worth the investment. I want my officers to remain safe so that they can return home to their families.”
The Lit Safety Vest is now used by dozens of law enforcement agencies in 15 U.S. states with demand growing daily. Crossing guards and construction workers are also starting to obtain them.