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NCSO gets grant
Money to pay for bullet-proof vests

COVINGTON - Efforts by the community to raise money to purchase Level III bullet-proof vests for deputies with the Newton County Sheriff's Office recently got a big boost.

The Sheriff's Office received a grant in the amount of $57,541 from the Bullet-Proof Vest Partnership, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Sheriff's Office will be required to pay half of that amount, at $28,770.50. The funds will come from the office's general budget, said Sheriff Ezell Brown.

"It is a great push for our efforts to support the initiative of the community," Brown said.

A fundraising campaign to purchase Level III vests was recently started by Dawn and Marshall Atha after their son, Deputy Wesley Atha, was saved by his bullet-proof vest. The fundraising goal is between $113,000 and $115,000, Brown said.

Community donations are now at more than $22,000. The grant brings that total to nearly $80,000.

The Sheriff's Office currently uses Level II vests. The Level III vests are tested to stop such threats as a 9mm sub-machine-gun and a .44 Magnum, and are said to give the officer better impact protection.

Donations to the bullet-proof vest fund can be made by check payable to the Newton County Sheriff's Office and earmarked for Safety Vests & Equipment. Donations can be mailed to the NCSO in care of Apryle Jones, 15151 Alcovy Road, Covington, GA 30014.

News Editor Barbara Knowles contributed to this story.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: Vest Fund

Community donations to a fund for the purchase of Level III bullet-proof vests for Newton County Sheriff's Office deputies continue to grow. The fund currently stands at more than $22,000.

Those contributing $1,000 or more include:

· Ginn Chevrolet

· Ginn Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge

· Newton Federal

· Marshall and Dawn Atha

· The Arnold Fund

· Eastside High School