GREENSBORO, NC – It’s law enforcement’s job to respond to the most dangerous situations, including going into active shooter situations. Until recently, troopers with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol didn't have the proper equipment to protect them in those situations.

NCSHP purchased 1,700 active shooter vests and helmets in June of 2017. The gear began being distributed in the fall.

“The vests are level three ballistic, like what the military gets,” said Master Trooper Brandon Baker. “We received the vests first, then shortly after we started getting the helmets, which are similar to what SWAT and Rapid Response teams get.”

All district supervisors and troopers received the helmets and vests, weighing 55 pounds. The body armor is crucial is protecting troopers from high powered weapons.

“The body armor we had before couldn't protect us from these AR-15 type weapons people use in active shooter situations,” Baker explained. “And we would basically go in without proper protection, but we are still there to do our job.”

Baker said he didn't know why this type of gear hadn't been provided prior to 2017, but added he was grateful for the new armor.

“I would have loved to have had this in some situations I’ve been in before. I think this is a great step for our safety and I’m glad they made the decision.”

According to a post on the NCSHP’s Facebook page, the gear has already been used in manhunts and other emergency situations.

In addition to the gear, troopers received safety kits complete with tourniquets and other life-saving equipment.