(WHBC) – The Canton Police Department is receiving grant funding from the state for an invaluable piece of equipment for its officers.

“Bulletproof vests are one of the most important pieces of equipment they have, but it’s also one of the most expensive,” said Lt. Dennis Garren.

He says a state grant worth $10,300 will cover a big portion of the cost of 17 vests the department is purchasing.

He points out that the vests, which cost about $800, don’t last forever.

“They have a shelf life, the fibers start to deteriorate, and we don’t want to send them out there with faulty equipment, so they get a new vest every five years.”

The Canton Police Department is among hundreds of agencies in the state participating in the Ohio Law Enforcement Body Armor Grant Program, administered by the attorney general’s office, which is allocating $2.7 million in grant money.

Lt. Garren reiterates the value of bulletproof vests, and why all of their patrol officers are required to wear one.

“There are certainly times that bulletproof vests have saved an officer’s life.”