As used in this section:
(a) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of public safety.
(b) "Peace officer" means a person who is licensed under section 626.84, subdivision 1, paragraph (c).
(c) "Vest" means bullet-resistant soft body armor that is flexible, concealable, and custom fitted to the peace officer to provide ballistic and trauma protection.
Peace officers and heads of local law enforcement agencies who buy vests for the use of peace officer employees may apply to the commissioner for reimbursement of funds spent to buy vests. On approving an application for reimbursement, the commissioner shall pay the applicant an amount equal to the lesser of one-half of the vest's purchase price or $600, as adjusted according to subdivision 2a. The political subdivision that employs the peace officer shall pay at least the lesser of one-half of the vest's purchase price or $600, as adjusted according to subdivision 2a. The political subdivision may not deduct or pay its share of the vest's cost from any clothing, maintenance, or similar allowance otherwise provided to the peace officer by the law enforcement agency.
On October 1, 2006, the commissioner of public safety shall adjust the $600 reimbursement amounts specified in subdivision 2, and in each subsequent year, on October 1, the commissioner shall adjust the reimbursement amount applicable immediately preceding that October 1 date. The adjusted rate must reflect the annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers, published by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, occurring in the one-year period ending on the preceding June 1.
(a) Only vests that either meet or exceed the requirements of standard 0101.03 of the National Institute of Justice or that meet or exceed the requirements of that standard, except wet armor conditioning, are eligible for reimbursement.
(b) Eligibility for reimbursement is limited to vests bought after December 31, 1986, by or for peace officers (1) who did not own a vest meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) before the purchase, or (2) who owned a vest that was at least five years old.
(c) The requirement set forth in paragraph (b), clauses (1) and (2), shall not apply to any peace officer who purchases a vest constructed from a zylon-based material, provided that the peace officer provides proof of purchase or possession of the vest prior to July 1, 2005.
The commissioner may adopt rules under chapter 14 to administer this section.
A state agency, political subdivision of the state, or state or local government employee that provides reimbursement for purchase of a vest under this section is not liable to a peace officer or the peace officer's heirs for negligence in the death of or injury to the peace officer because the vest was defective or deficient.
A peace officer who is reimbursed for the purchase of a vest under this section and who suffers injury or death because the officer failed to wear the vest, or because the officer wore a vest that was defective or deficient, may not lose or be denied a benefit or right, including a benefit under section 299A.44, to which the officer, or the officer's heirs, is otherwise entitled.
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