Kent Police to receive federal grant money for ballistic shields; jail security cameras

The Kent Police will receive a $66,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to fund ballistic shields for officers as well as upgraded security cameras for the city jail and the Panther Lake police substation.

Kent Police shot and killed a man armed with a rifle May 4 at the Kent Transit Center on Railroad Avenue. A federal grant will pay for ballistic shields for officers to use in case they face similar incidents.

Kent Police shot and killed a man armed with a rifle May 4 at the Kent Transit Center on Railroad Avenue. A federal grant will pay for ballistic shields for officers to use in case they face similar incidents.

The Kent Police will receive a $66,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to fund ballistic shields for officers as well as upgraded security cameras for the city jail and the Panther Lake police substation.

The ballistic plates and carriers will be part of the equipment in 51 patrol vehicles at a total cost of $46,055 or $903 per vehicle, according to city documents.

“The Kent Police Department will equip each patrol vehicle with rifle-rated ballistic plates and carriers to provide officers with ready access to this essential equipment when they respond to incidents where suspects are armed with rifles,” according to the police department’s grant application. “This will improve officers’ ability to respond to these volatile incidents effectively and protect public safety.”

Officers responded to several crimes in recent years where individuals were armed with rifles, including a May 4 shooting death of a 58-year-old Kent man by an officer at the Kent Transit Center downtown.

“These incidents included mentally unstable individuals moving around through the city, within their neighborhood, barricading themselves in

buildings and holding others hostage within buildings,” according to the grant request. “While these types of incidents often result in calling out SWAT, the first responding officer still needs protection against rifle shots.”

The police department will use $19,000 of the grant to upgrade security cameras at the 120-bed city jail along Central Avenue on the south end of town. The cameras will help ensure the safety of jail staff, contractors, volunteers, visitors and inmates. Cameras will be replaced in the lobby, housing pads, kitchen and booking area.

Two security cameras at a cost of $1,250 will be added to the new police substation in Panther Lake at 10848 S.E. 208th St., on the East Hill. Panther Lake annexed to the city in July 2010. Officers use the substation to write reports and meet with residents about criminal investigations.

The Kent grant is part of $544,000 awarded this month by the Department of Justice to more than a dozen police agencies in the state.

“From the smallest police departments to our largest task forces, these funds make a difference – picking up costs of technology and training to keep our officers well equipped and ready to keep our communities safe,” said U.S. attorney Jenny A. Durkan in a media release. “Whether it is for cameras in patrol cars, forensic equipment or training to recognize terrorist threats, these are carefully screened and important expenditures. At a time when law enforcement agencies are struggling to meet needs because of budget cuts, these additional funds will help fill some gaps.”

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grants are named in honor of a New York City Police officer who was killed in the line of duty at age 22 in 1988.

The Kent City Council is scheduled to accept the federal grant at its Sept. 20 meeting.


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