Chief Michael Vela with Palmhurst Police Department told Action 4 News that his men do not leave home without their department issued bulletproof vest.
"If they aren't wearing it to work they are sent home, Chief Vela explained. They have to be wearing these vests at all times. We supply it to them--they have to wear them."
Vela told Action 4 News that these vests can mean the difference between life and death.
For some officers, it is their only means of protection.
"This job can be very unpredictable," Chief Vela said. "One minute it can be nice and pretty and then the next---chaos can erupt."
The Tuesday morning shooting of an U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement agent near Hargil is an example of what can transpire in a matter of minutes.
Vela said when a lawman is injured it affects the entire law enforcement community.
"We work very close together," Chief Vela said. "When one of us gets hurts it's as if we, ourselves, got hurt. This is just the reality of what is going on here in the Valley."
As his officers prepare to hit the road---Vela makes sure that black vest is secure"so everyone comes back alive.