St. Charles Herald-Guide

Family gives $25,000 to Sheriff’s Office to purchase bullet-proof vests

By Jonathan Menard - February 14, 2013

A St. Charles Parish family has donated $25,000 to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office for the purchase of enhanced bullet-resistant vests for sheriff’s deputies.

The Smith family, whose members include the owners of The Magnolia Companies of Louisiana, Sen. Gary Smith Jr., Magnolia Companies CEO Glen Smith and Gary Smith Sr., made the donation in December but details were announced on Friday.

The new-model vests include ceramic plates that are designed to protect officers from criminals using high-powered rifles, Lt. Joe Ganote, commander of the Special Response Team, said.

"This generous donation will help the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office to provide our officers the extra level of protection needed to survive an attack," Sheriff Greg Champagne said. "We appreciate the concern that Magnolia Companies and the Smith family has demonstrated to enable our officers to return home safely."

Capt. Pat Yoes, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said the donation would allow the purchase of several vests, but that an exact number is difficult to determine because price varies depending on the types of vests purchased.