After weeks of financial uncertainty, the Norwood Police Department is getting new bulletproof vests.
Their current vests will pass out of warranty in August, and after that, the manufacturer does not agree that the protection will work. The city said it didn’t have the money to replace them, but Wednesday night, Norwood Police Chief Bill Kramer announced that someone else would pick up the tab.
A local business is footing the bill for 17 bulletproof vests, Kramer said. Each one costs about $850, bringing the total cost of the replacements to nearly $15,000.
As tensions between police and civilians rise across the country, other Tri-State police departments are also investing in greater protection for their officers.
“It’s a very scary thought, knowing that police officers are being targeted like we are animals,” said Lockand Police Chief James Toles.
Nine police officers have been shot and killed across the country in less than three weeks, and Toles says his officers need protection now more than ever.
On Tuesday night, the Lockland City Council approved 14 rifle plate carriers — vests that repel stronger artillery than a standard-issue equivalent — for the department, and Toles says they will cost less than $15,000.
“The officers that have been shot and killed here in the last two and a half weeks have been shot with high-powered rifles, and the vest that we currently wear does not stop that kind of round,” Toles said.
Chief Toles says the rifle plate carriers will stay in the cruisers, and when officers respond to a dangerous situation, they can throw them over their bulletproof vests.
“We are out here to protect the lives of the people we work for, but on the other hand, we are human too, and we’ve got to protect ourselves."
An earlier version of this story identified James Toles as Chief of Norwood PD. This has been corrected; WCPO regrets this error.