PARIS — Oxford County commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to authorize Sheriff James Theriault to spend $5,000 for five new bulletproof vests.

Theriault said he recently learned there are at least five deputies whose vests need to be replaced.

“When you get the vests, they’re only guaranteed for five years,” Theriault said. “They’re still wearing them right now, and if anything were to happen, it would come back on us.”

He said they cost about $1,000 a piece, and there is no line item in the Sheriff’s Office budget for them.

“I found $2,100 that we’re not going to be using this year in the Criminal Justice Academy tuition budget, and there’s $2,900 in our K-9 account, which we won’t be using,” Theriault said. “That gives us enough money to buy five vests.”

Theriault told commissioners that in future budgets, he is planning to make bulletproof vests a line item.

Interim County Administrator Tom Winsor agreed that replacing the vests is a good idea, because the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that vests be replaced every five years.

“If there’s an inspection and we have expired vests, that’s a big ding against us,” Winsor said.

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Sheriff James Theriault (front left) and Chief Deputy Christopher Wainwright (front right) speak with the Oxford County Commissioners Tuesday morning about Theriault’s request to use Sheriff’s Office funds to purchase five new bulletproof vests to replace some that fell into disrepair. (Matthew Daigle/Staff Writer)

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