ORONO (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- The new bullet resistant vests will not only replace the old ones, but also replace their belt.

Police officers traditionally carry all their gear around their waists on their belt, which according to Orono Police Chief Josh Ewing, can cause issues.

"Causing lower back problems, sitting in the car a lot and just that weight the way it was distributed was causing issues." He said.

Orono officers are now carrying gear on their bodies, joining departments across the state. Including Old Town, Windham and Falmouth.

"It's actually the exact same vest that's underneath just put into this outer carrier," Orono officer, Sarah Angelo said.

These vests were possible because of a grant the department received, and are used to make the officers more comfortable.

"I've only had mine on for several hours and I'm already finding that I used to have a problem with my hips rolling forward and my shoulders rolling forward. I'm standing up straighter, I'm sitting up straighter and my usual aches and pains are already alleviated." Officer Angelo said.

The vests are also easier to remove in an emergency.

"If an officer's hurt and EMS has to get to their chest they're going to have to cut through the shirt cut through the vest. These new vests they can unzip take off and get to the chest." Chief Ewing said.

Half the department got their vests this week while the other half will get them later this year.