Tyler PD Re-Evaluating Bulletproof Vest Policy

At the time of Thursday's shooting, Deputy Sherman Dollison, who was critically wounded, was not wearing body armor. Some have questioned why officers were not wearing a bulletproof vest.

The Smith County Sheriff's Department's policy is that bailiffs and jailers do not wear armor in the courthouse because metal detectors are there to keep weapons out. The department issues bulletproof vests to all deputies on street patrol. All officers with the Tyler Police Department are issued vests.

However, both agencies' policies make wearing a bulletproof vest optional. Officials with the Tyler Police Department said they were already considering making it mandatory for officers to wear a vest while on duty, before the courthouse shooting.

Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith said security measures are in place for deputies at the courthouse that would not make it necessary for an immediate policy change.

"That doesn't mean we won't go back at the end of this," Sheriff Smith said, "after everything is fully investigated and we have all the details then you go back and say is there something we could have done to have prevented this or can we do better in the future."

"We never know when we step in to a situation where an officer may be shot at," said Officer Don Martin with the Tyler Police Department ."Of course we want to make sure again that they are protected as much as possible."

Officer Martin said if the policy is made mandatory with Tyler PD there could still be exemptions for officers in certain situations.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com