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Rio Grande City Police Department gets Bluetooth bulletproof vests

A local police department is making history as the first in the Rio Grande Valley to be protected by a unique Bluetooth bulletproof vest.

A local police department is making history as the first in the Rio Grande Valley to be protected by a unique Bluetooth bulletproof vest.

Rio Grande City police officers are adding an extra layer of safety, with a Bluetooth vest-size sensor that goes on the outside of their body armor vest.

"This vest —if the officer were to get shot or stabbed, it tells us which officer it is, the location, along with other components and sending a message to all the officers that have an issued phone," said Rio Grande Police Chief Noe Castillo.

The panels are thin, light and made of plastic. They are Bluetooth connected to every officers phone in the department and anytime it's pierced by a bullet or a knife, the device will send out a Bluetooth alert to every single officer in the department.

"This is a faster response, automatically," said Castillo, who has already issued out the custom-fit panels to his officers. "They won't have to call it in and seconds count when someone gets shot or gets hurt."

The Automatic Injury Detection System is the latest technology in the law enforcement world, with Rio Grande City being the first and only department in the Valley to have the panels and only the second department in the entire state of Texas.

"Any added security and safety that we can give our guys that are working on the streets is always a plus," said Castillo.

The alert even shows the exact GPS coordinates, the blood type of the officer and what kind of weapon they're carrying.

The best part — it didn't cost the department a penny.

Sprint partnered with Rio Grande City to make sure officers are the safest they can be when on patrol.

"We have a national program where if the agency buys a smart phone from us, we include the automatic injury detection system along with that," said Robert Hahn, Sprint Public Sector Manager for the Rio Grande Valley.

Even though it cost nothing, this device means everything to local officers, who can now rest a little easier knowing they have another layer of protection.

"If this could help make sure my guys get home safe, I'm all for it and I'll do whatever I need to do to help make that happen," said Hahn.

Other Valley departments are working with Sprint for the AIDS technology, according to Hahn.

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