The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday granted up to $266,000 to purchase protective gear, such as ballistic carriers/plates and helmets for all Cobb Police officers.
The Cobb Police Department already arms the SWAT team with such equipment, but the new step would place the tools with each officer and detective.
Sam Heaton, the county’s public safety director, said this is a needed step for officers who quickly respond to a critical incident, including a person barricaded in a home or a hostage situation.
When Cobb Police arrive at a scene they are now only protected by “soft (bulletproof) vests under their uniform,” Heaton said.
Once the equipment is supplied to each officer, “they can don the gear once on the scene and be as protected as the SWAT team,” he said.
On March 13, eight sealed bids were received for the purchase and delivery of the equipment.
Vendors sent a sample product to test at the firing range for quality, specification requirements, safety, durability, comfort and design.
“We took into account how well (the equipment) performed on the range as well as the bids themselves,” Heaton said.
The awarded vendor, KDH Defense Systems, Inc., a leading manufacturer of American-made custom solutions for body armor out of Eden, N.C., will provide the ballistic carriers and plates.
Dana Safety Supply, a high-tech police supply equipment distributor out of Greensboro, N.C., will provide the ballistic helmets.
The equipment is $244 per unit, with one police officer using one unit. If the entire $266,000 is spent, the amount would supply 1,090 units. Funding comes from the IRS Seizure Grant Program.
Heaton said there are 600 officers with the Cobb Police Department now and the gear usually has a 5- to 8-year life span.
The goal is to have all officers equipped by the end of the year, with each person needing to be measured for a specific size.
“The sooner, the better,” Heaton said.
Next month, Heaton said he will go back to the Board of Commissioners with a purchasing request for patrol rifles. The department bought 360 last year with special purpose local option sales tax dollars and this year will ask for about 260 more.
Weathering the storms
The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday also approved costs incurred during the recent winter storms.
The authorization allowed for the transfer of $318,881 from the county’s fiscal 2014 General Fund’s Storm Contingency allotment into the budgets for each department impacted by freezing temperatures this winter, as well as the snow and ice events at the end of January and middle of February.
When the budget was adopted by the Board of Commissioners on Sept. 10, there was a $350,000 contingency for storms and severe weather, including the cleanup from the related damage.
According to the report from the county’s comptroller, James Pehrson, an extended period of freezing temperatures burst water and sprinkler lines in county facilities.
The two storm systems also forced various county departments to provide “vital emergency services and shelter to the public,” the report stated.
The expenses approved were broken down by department.
Breakdown of storm expenses
Cobb Police Department
$28,856 in overtime salaries
$14,247 in wrecker charges
Senior Services Department
$17,285 in emergency rations for meal programs
Property Management Department
$61 in overtime salaries
$1,645 for materials
$4,231 for tools and rental equipment
$17,241 in repair contracts
Fleet Management Department
$11,306 in overtime
$4,771 in fuel for generators and vehicles
$3,262 for parts and supplies
$35,087 for snow chains
$8,800 for vehicle damage repair
$41,546 in overtime
$967 for materials
Department of Transportation
$14,629 in overtime
$57,072 for materials and delivery of sand, salt and gravel
$57,875 for the replacement of damaged reflective pavement markings