Bradenton Police Department makes bulletproof vests mandatory

BRADENTON – Officers with the Bradenton Police Department will be required to wear bulletproof vests while on duty, under a new policy that takes effect immediately.

The policy was already in the works before the shooting death Monday of St. Petersburg David Crawford. Investigators say Crawford was not wearing a vest when he was killed.

“It was a combination of things,” said Chief Michael Radzilowski. “Because of the bulletproof vest issue in St. Petersburg, and it’s part of a grant requirement.”

A federal grant will pay for half the cost of the vests providing departments make their use mandatory.

Radzilowski called the the decision a win-win because it not only saves taxpayers money, it also helps to keep officers safe while on duty.

So far the change in policy has been met with “very little resistance” by officers, Radzilowski said.

“Most officers wear them anyway,” he said.