Vest saved deputy's life

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Deputy Cary York hasn't always been thrilled to wear his bullet-resistant vest.

"You sweat to death in those vests," said York.

But early Wednesday morning, that vest stopped bullets aimed for the Russell County deputy's chest.

He was shot at several times after pulling over a car with no plates on Kentucky 1730 near Wolf Creek Dam.

He just recently started wearing the hand-me-down vest given to him by a state trooper.

"I mean I had gut feelings, here and there, I need to be wearing it," York said.

"I think he's a very lucky young man," said Barry Cecil with Bud's Police Supply in Lexingon.

Cecil, a retired police officer, sells the vests to law enforcement agencies in Kentucky.

"It will catch the round, and it is designed to handle a certain threat level," said Cecil.

Each vest should be sized for a specific officer, in fact they are measured up to 7 different ways to ensure proper fit.

"The most important thing about body armor is if it's not comfortable, the officer's not going to wear it," said Cecil.

But the life-saving equipment doesn't come cheap - costing on average between $500 and more than $700.

Authorities say many of the vests 'expire' after 5 years.

Grant money is available through the Kentucky office of Homeland Security for agencies that can't afford them on their own. The money comes from annual gun auctions.

Cecil says the grant process used to be more complicated, but has since become much easier.

Kentucky office of Homeland Security officials say they are continuing to get the word out to agencies - that they can do something to get more vests for their officers.

Many area agencies have already taken advantage of the program, including Lexington police.

"You have to make yourself a promise - I'm going to put that thing on and I'm going to wear it every day," said Cecil.

Which is a promise York made to his wife and two daughters, and lived another day as a law enforcement officer.

"It's worth the discomfort for 10 hours..if you get to come home," said York.

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