FLINT TWP. – Police officers stand armed, armored and ready to protect and serve, thanks to ongoing updates in equipment. Most recently, the township board approved a request to purchase ten bulletproof vests.
“In order to comply with manufacturer recommendations and federal guidelines, it is the practice of the Flint Township Police Department to supply new vests to officers every 5 years,” said Police Chief George Sippert.
After 5 years, vests start to degrade and no longer comply with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) standards, he explained. The vests are not replaced all at once.
The vests will be ordered from CMP Distributors, a Lansing vendor with who the department has established a good relationship, Chief Sippert said.
They have selected for purchase the Armor Express “Razor”, Threat Level II Concealable Vest with Revolution carrier, blood tag, and a 5×8 Ara-shock plate. This vest conforms to the NIJ Standard 0101.06, Ballistic Resistance Testing of Police Body Armor achieving threat level 2 protection, Chief Sippert said. Armor Express is a Michigan company, located in Central Lake, Ml.
The vests cost $750 each for a total purchase of $7,500. Chief Sippert said a federal grant has been applied for is expected to be received to pay half the cost.
“They make the vest that saved the life of Officer (Michael)Schuyler,” he said referring to the January 2015 incident in which the officer was shot and seriously wounded during an altercation with a suspect at a Miller Road motel. In a separate action, the township board approved Chief Sippert’s request to spend budgeted funds to outfit four Chevrolet Tahoe patrol vehicles that were approved for purchase in February. At that time, Chief Sippert explained that two current patrol cars – a 2009 Dodge Charger and a 2011 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor – would be removed from the fleet and replaced by the Tahoes.
Chief Sippert recommended awarding the contract to outfit all four vehicles to Cruisers Corporation of Brighton.
“We have a long standing relationship with Cruisers Corporation, using them since 2008 to provide outfitting and service for our vehicle fleet.,” he said. “Additionally, we prefer our 2016 Tahoe’s be outfitted the same as the 2015 Tahoe’s that were purchased last year. Cruisers Corporation will use available equipment removed from the Crown Victoria and Dodge Charger. The majority of the equipment will be purchased through and installed by Cruisers.”
The total cost of $47,706 breaks down to $11,810 each for the two cars using some equipment for the retiring vehicles and $12,043 each for the other two new purchases that also will require purchase digital/audio recording systems (for in-car cameras).
The L3 Mobile-Vision Inc., Flashback 3 Digital Video System units, rear seat cameras and required software are the same systems being used in the rest of the patrol fleet and will cost an additional $10,380 to install in two cars.
In a non-monetary item, Chief Sippert also mentioned that new handguns approved for purchase in December have arrived.
The Glock generation 4 pistol will replace Glock generation 1 weapons that officers were issued back in the early 1990s. Officers began training with the new weapons about two weeks ago and Chief Sippert said he expects the entire force to soon be equipped with the new weapons.