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HOUSTON -- Despite recent local incidents where bulletproof vests have saved officers' lives, many deputy constables do not have body armor.

"A lot of it has to do with economics," said Lt. Macario Sosa of the Harris County Precinct 6 Constable's Office.

He said half the agency's deputies do not have vests, the ones who do wear them, purchased the body armor themselves.

"It's something most officers would prefer to have," said Sosa. "It's a tool much like your side arm, your radio or your patrol car."

Unlike the Harris County Sheriff's Office or the Houston Police Department, vests aren't in the budget for many smaller constable offices.

Depending on size and strength, they cost between $500 to more than $1,000 each.

At their next meeting, Harris County Commissioners will decide on a plan to purchase body armor for officers who don't have it.

Original estimates put the cost for outfitting every agency in the county at $1 million, but that figure could change.

Whatever the cost, deputies said it will be small compared to the cost of losing a life.

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