FOP accuses DeWine of not buying new body armor for BCI agents

(Bob Donnelly/WBNS-10TV)

10TV obtained 16 pages of internal emails, some dating back to 2016, that show agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification were concerned they were using bulletproof vests that were beyond the five-year manufacturer warranty.

Experts say the Kevlar breaks down over time due to heat, sweat and chemicals.

One email said, "this will create an email paper trail that can be recovered by your spouse in case of any misfortune!"

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Attorney General Mike DeWine's office tells 10TV the emails were never shared with him and he wasn't made aware of the issue until a grievance was filed in May.

A spokesperson tells 10TV, "This issue is largely resolved. The vests in question have been purchased and are being manufactured. We are awaiting a delivery date from the vendor."

Former Columbus Police Officer Mike Wineman says his bulletproof vest saved his life.

It was December 1998 at the corner of 17th Avenue and Brentnall where he got into a scuffle with a driver who had a gun.

He's not convinced DeWine had no idea of the concern until recently.

"That's a leadership breakdown that some supervisor at BCI. You're telling me there's no mention in a staff meeting that I got these many guys without a bulletproof vest," he said.

Wineman is speaking out after more than 50 Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents filed a grievance.

10TV asked former police officer Eric Delbert if an expired vest could still stop a bullet? He said yes, and showed us a vest that was 4-years beyond the manufacturer warranty.

He said he fired several bullets at the vest and it stopped every one of them.

Still, he says there's no guarantee every older vest will perform the same.

"You don't know how that vest was treated," he said.

How voters treat the issue in November remains to be seen.