Vests that Repel Assault Weapons a Necessity, New DPA Prez Says

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DALLAS -- It's only been six months since the July 7 ambush shooting that took the lives of four Dallas Police officers and one DART officer.

It's still hard to process, particularly for the men and women who worked by their side.

"We cherish who we lost, and we'll remember them forever," said Dallas Police Association President Sergeant Michael Mata. "But we have to learn from what happened."

Part of that learning process is recognizing that some of the equipment our patrol officers have just isn't good enough. Two of the five officers killed at the end of a march to protest Police brutality had high power shots pierce their bulletproof vests.

As the Texas Legislature opens its 85th session, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has a goal to get up to $20 million in order to outfit Texas officers with vests that can stop those assault rounds.

Sgt. Mata became the newest Dallas Police Association president Tuesday, and he feels this one's a necessity.

"Some may see it as an emotional response, but we're the ones who bury officers almost daily it feels like now," Sgt. Mata said. "It's like any other job where the better equipment you have, the better you can do your job. The only thing in this scenario, with our profession, the better equipment we have, we save lives. If we can save our lives, then we can save the lives of the public."

While Texas officers are feeling the love, some Police supporters across the country aren't so happy with the Department of Transportation. The national DOT said that painting a blue line between the yellow lines in the middle of the road -- a show of support for officers -- isn't actually legal.

Mata, though, says it's the thought that counts on this one.

"It shouldn't be an insult to the law enforcement community if at some time they have to go back and re-stripe them because we are here to protect the public," he said. "It was a wonderful gesture."

A better gesture for the new DPA president, though, would be to get those vests and protect his brothers and sisters in Blue.