By P.J. Gossett
HAMILTON — The sheriff’s department and police departments throughout Marion County now have new protective equipment for every officer. Thanks to the efforts of County Investigator Kevin Bryant, Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams and the Marion County EMA, a $59,000 homeland security grant recently provided 62 helmets and 62 shields for municipal police departments in the county, as well as the sheriff’s office.
Williams stated officials looked for something countywide the grant would pay for and had the idea for the shields. Originally looking for just the shields, Bryant located RTS Tactical, based out of Miami, Fla., that had good enough rates and gave a good enough deal to allow the additional purchase of the helmets.
“We came up with this plan,” Williams said. “That’s when Kevin reached out to all (departments). We hope to get some more grants in the future.
“(The helmets and shields) are for first responders. If we have a mass shooting, you all are the first responders,” Williams told the police chiefs. “We all train to do that together because you never know which officer is going to be there first.”
“I hope you never have to use them, but I’m glad you have them in case you do need them,” Blake Farley, Marion County’s assistant EMA director, added.
“The shields are rifle rated,” Bryant explained. “The vests we wear on the street everyday don’t hold up to rifle calibers. If somebody has an AR or an AK, they won’t hold up.”
With the new shields, officers can now have rifle rated protection. The shields can also be useful to help protect others, including citizens and victims. Bryant also said the shields are made of AR500 steel, which is a hardened steel used in armor protection and other applications. The helmets are made of Kevlar and are ballastic rated for a rifle as well.
See complete story in the Journal Record.