Arnold, PA American Legion Post Pitches in for Kevlar Police Vests

From The Tribune-Review by Chuck Biedka, May 26, 2014

Stan Rickabaugh of Arnold wore an armored vest when he served as a Army helicopter door gunner in Vietnam.

So the American Legion Post 684 member readily said yes when a chance came to help Arnold police, said Rickabaugh of Fifth Avenue.

The Arnold Post recently gave the department enough money to buy $1,000 Kevlar vests and separate tactical vests for each of the nine officers.

“This is fantastic,” Arnold police Chief Willie Weber said. “They understand better than most what it’s like to be on the front line of conflict. They feel we’re on the front line of conflict, too.”

“They’re like our comrades,” said Jim McFadden, Post 684 commander, a soldier who served in Vietnam and is a proud Arnold resident.

“We’re trying to improve Arnold,” McFadden said.

The vests will replace worn ones to provide better protection.

Police are at risk just like servicemen and -women and should be protected as they protect the public, said Raymond Cowen of Murray Avenue, who served with the Air Force in Korea after the cease fire.

The vests are armored, but officers can insert special plates to the vests to give more protection.

“We don’t have to replace the plates because they don’t deteriorate,” Weber said.

The newest vests are worn under uniform shirts.

The tactical vests have “Molle” attachments so ammunition pouches and other items can be rapidly and securely attached.

Molle stands for modular lightweight load-carrying equipment — gear that was developed for the military.

“Officers will be able to carry handcuffs, ammo — anything they need,” Weber said.

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