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New W.Va. law provides for deputies’ body armor

May. 06, 2013 @ 01:07 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A fatal West Virginia shootout has prompted a new law meant to ensure that all deputy sheriffs have body armor.

Legislation passed this session requires all 55 county sheriff’s departments to provide bullet-resistant vests to deputies starting July 1.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is holding a Monday ceremony to mark its enactment. He signed the bill last week.

The wounding of Roane County Deputy Sheriff John Westfall spurred the measure. Westfall was shot three times by a suspect who had just murdered two state troopers in August.

Officials credit a bullet-resistant vest with saving the married father of three. Westfall had borrowed it from Spencer, where he has also served as a city patrolman.

The new law encourages counties to seek any needed funding from federal and other programs.