Emergency management seeks grant for active shooter vests for CPD

Bartholomew County Emergency Management Director Shannan Cooke is seeking funds to purchase 73 active shooter vests for the Columbus Police Department along with other safety gear.

In comparison with conventional bulletproof protection, the active shooter vests are made up of heavier plates capable of stopping a number of high-power projectiles such as rifle rounds, Cooke said.

These vests are already being worn by members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) squad in Bartholomew County, as well as the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team, according to Cooke.

The vests are at the top of the emergency management director’s list of needs as she finalizes her annual funding application for a State Homeland Security Program grant. This year, Bartholomew County is seeking a total of $144,213.

Other items on the list include a utility task vehicle. A UTV is a larger type of all-terrain vehicle designed to haul heavier loads and perhaps additional passengers.

While city police already have one UTV, they lack a trailer to haul it from place to place, so Cooke said she is also requesting funds for two trailers.

Emergency Management is also requesting portable message boards. While similar to the roadside message boards, Cooke said these are more versatile and easier to move.

The final items on the list are seven laptops and accessories for the 911 Emergency Operations Center at 131 S. Cherry St.

If emergency dispatchers are forced to leave the center, these computers and accessories, along with police radios, will allow them to dispatch at remote locations, Cooke said. If the grant is approved, these computers would replace current ones already on standby, she said.

Bartholomew County Commissioner Tony London emphasized that Cooke has only received permission to apply for the grant, and not the authorization to buy the items.

The finished application is due in Indianapolis on May 30. The county should know whether or not their request has been approved in either August or September, Cooke said.