Bullet-resistant vests can save the lives of law enforcement officers, but many departments cannot afford the protective gear.

Thursday morning, a dozen law enforcement agencies travelled to Bedford County to receive the equipment.

"Protect the Protectors" is a project of Bedford County's Safe Surfin' Foundation.

During a presentation ceremony at the Bedford County Sheriff's Office, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran joined  Sheriff Mike Brown for the distribution.

"We're like every other department across the state," said Clifton Forge Chief of Police Barry Balser. "Budgets are tight. And in order for me to provide vests on a regular basis and keep them fresh, then I generally have to cut equipment someplace else."

A $245,000 grant from the Attorney General's Office will pay for almost 500 vests, distributed to law enforcement officers around the state.