Vienna Fire’s donation to its police inspired by fallen officer

Fallen Girard Officer Justin Leo started his career in Vienna; The police force will soon receive four new bullet proof vests

The vests only have a 5-year life span... and are tailored to fit each individual officer.

VIENNA TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – The Vienna Fire Department is helping protect the police department in more ways than just helping them respond to calls.

Monday, as the township celebrated the holidays, Vienna Fire Chief Richard Brannon gave Bob Ludt, Vienna’s police chief, a check worth more than $2,000 for a set of four brand new bullet proof vests.

But the story behind this donation starts with fallen Girard Officer Justin Leo — who started his career in Vienna.

“It really did hit home,” Ludt said of Leo’s late-October tragedy.

“I had the distinct pleasure of working with Officer Leo during the time he was here,” Brannon said. “I just don’t want it to happen again. So we’re going to try to keep our police protected as much as we can.”

In Vienna — like most, if not all departments across the Valley — the men and women in blue and red are family. They often times respond to calls together, even if they don’t have to.

“I want to make sure they’re as safe as they can be,” Brannon said.

So, Chief Brannon asked his department if they would be willing to donate the money made from their collection of aluminum cans to the police department. It’s a special fund of 10 years now that allows the department to use the money however they want.

“As long as the majority of our association approves of those funds,” Brannon said.

Brannon says they usually just take the cans to a salvage yard for money, but when this year’s idea was brought up…

“The body had no issues approving it whatsoever,” he said.

“I was a little speechless at first because that is a lot of money to donate,” Ludt said.

The total came out to $2,697 — which can buy four brand new vests at $657 a piece. The vests have a five-year life span and are tailored to fit each individual officer.

“This is going to be a big boost to get my men replacement vests as they wear out,” Ludt said.

“We just want to make sure that they’re safe out there,” Brannon said. “We’re here for them whenever they need us.”