$3,000 grant awarded to BCPD for bulletproof vests
Mike McKenna spends time every week looking for grants to help fund the purchase of equipment needed for the Baldwin City Police Department and the police chief's work is starting to pay off.
The city was notified last week it received a nearly $3,000 grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance to purchase bulletproof vests for the BCPD. The city must match the funds provided through the grant.
The grant, which had to be applied for by the city, will allow the police department to purchase up to eight fitted bulletproof vests.
"This is good for the city and obviously good for the officers," McKenna said.
Officers' vests must be replaced every few years, he said.
"Manufacturers of vests uniformly state an officer's vest has a lifetime capability of three to five years," he said. "After a period of time, materials in vests can break down and maybe not afford the protection they did when they were new.
"We're at a stage where we need to replace a number of these vests."
Because bulletproof vests can cost from $400 to $1,000 a piece, he said the grant was awarded at a good time.
"This provides us an opportunity to purchase them and make it safer for the officers to do their jobs," he said.
Grants, McKenna said, were a good way to fund items needed for the police department.
"With the rising operational costs for all governments, we look toward the federal government and some private organizations for grants to enable us to purchase items that are necessary to maintain quality law enforcement in the community," he said. "I think we have to examine all the resources we have available to us to better equip the officers and maintain the programs we have. We need to take advantage of these opportunities."
McKenna said grants will play an important role in the police department, especially with the budget problems the state is experiencing.
"We hope to do more of this in the future in other areas," he said. "I'm continually researching other grants."