DALLAS -- Officers make a promise, swearing an oath to protect and serve, and Governor Greg Abbott kept his promise to those men and women in blue.
"We promised that we would make the lives of police officers safer and our community safer, and we delivered on that promise," Abbott said in a press conference at the Dallas Police Association Tuesday.
On Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, almost a year-and-a-half to the day since the downtown attack on July 7, 2016, the Texas officers got nearly $25 million for newer, stronger bulletproof vests. The difference is these vests will stop assault rifle bullets, the new weapon of choice for many mass shooters, and the weapon of choice for the sniper who killed five Dallas officers that night.
"These officers wear a badge and a gun to protect us, but they're just folks like you, and so we passed that bill," Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said through tears Tuesday.
The decision to do it wasn't in question. It passed the State Senate unanimously last year before a near-unanimous decision in the House. The significance of Tuesday was just for Abbott to announce the grant and how it would be split.
The bill sees more than 32,000 officers getting new equipment across 453 Texas departments. DPD takes $1.75 million of that, and DART announced it would get $179, 550.
It was a necessary response to a terrible and tragic night.
"When 7/7 happened, we were like, 'See? We knew we needed something,'" said DPA Legislative Chairman Frederick Frazier. "Then that put the pressure onto our legislative individuals."
They responded to that pressure, led by local Senator Royce West, and they did it so our officers can response when they're needed too.
"The people of the State of Texas are deeply grateful for all that you do," Abbott said, "and you have a governor who has your back."