By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Two newly acquired ballistic shields will help protect police officers from gunfire in both offensive and defensive operations, providing critical protective coverage while being capable of being quickly deployed.
Police Lt. Robert Kennaley took one of the shields to the Aug. 3 City Council meeting to display the Police Department’s recent investment in protective technology.
“I was going to do a different style of presentation – I was going to turn out the lights and let everybody have the full effect – what the shield’s all about, but I decided against that,” he said amid laughter.
Kennaley demonstrated how the shield is held, and how the regular light and the strobe light is engaged. He also showed where a pistol or rifle could rest on the shield.
“It has a strobe, so, with the lights out, it is a very great tool to use to disorient,” he said. “I had a little fun with that in the police station. I turned off the lights and attacked the officers with it. It blinds people.”
Kennaley said the ballistic shields have a two-year warranty, and if an officer uses it to protect themselves, the company will replace it during the two-year warranty time period.
He said one of the shields will go in a supervisor’s vehicle, and will be in the vehicle to respond to any domestic violence or other dangerous situation.
“So, no matter what, this is going to be in the supervisor’s vehicle, so it will be used,” Kennaley said. “The other one will stay in the station, and if it is needed will be readily available.”
He said the shield protects all of a person’s vital organs.
“This will stop an AK-47 round, an AR-15 round, and, obviously, any type of pistol round,” Kennaley said. “It will take multiple rounds.”
He said one of the advantages of its relatively small size is that it is versatile, and could help an officer peek around a corner and not have to worry about their body getting shot.
“I can see what I need to see, and I can hit them with the light, disorient and take over this person,” Kennaley said.
He said the ballistics shield was recently used during an incident at Coogan Manor.
“It’s a very effective tool,” Kennaley said.
He said that, like body armor, if it takes a round, it is automatically replaced.
“If we have to use the shield, then it’s covered, and they will replace it,” Kennaley said.
He said the department spent $18,000 for the two ballistic shields.