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Hurst buying body cameras, armor for police

Euless Senior Officer B. Lord with a new armored vest kit in August. The Hurst Police Department is buying similar kits for its officers.
Euless Senior Officer B. Lord with a new armored vest kit in August. The Hurst Police Department is buying similar kits for its officers. pmoseley@star-telegram.com

Hurst police are getting body armor designed to protect officers from high-powered rifle bullets.

The Police Department requested that the City Council approve the purchase after a sharp increase in incidents in which officers were shot with high-powered rifles, including the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers this summer.

Hurst is purchasing 100 Security Pro USA body armor kits that include armor plates, a ballistic helmet and a first aid kit.

The city is also buying the Velcro panels and plate holders from Red the Uniform Tailor for approximately $4,455.

Mark Schwobel of the Hurst department said police agencies are looking at best practices in light of the increased use of high-powered rifles in fatal shootings of police officers.

Last summer, Euless also voted to purchase body armor to protect against high-powered rifle fire after the deaths of David Hofer and the five Dallas officers.

The body armor will be issued to all police officers and to firefighters who are also peace officers, Schwobel said.

“This tells the Police Department that the council is very interested in your safety,” said Mayor Richard Ward.

Hurst also voted to spend $158,600 to buy 61 body cameras from WatchGuard. The cameras will help improve accountability and record-keeping, Lt. Billy Keadle said.

Hurst received a grant from the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor’s Office for $78,400; the rest of the money will come from the Traffic Safety Signal Fund.

Keadle said the body cameras are compatible with the in-car systems and storage from Watch Guard.

Bedford is also upgrading its cameras, as the current system is obsolete. The council approved spending $252,805 to purchase the server, 22 in-car and 36 body cameras for the jail, crime and crime investigation interview rooms and redaction software from WatchGuard. The in-car and body cameras are compatible, and the company has redaction software that is not available from other camera manufacturers, Bedford police officials wrote in a memo to the City Council.

The body cameras will be used by officers in patrol, traffic and repeat-victimization units, and other officers can use them as needed.

Elizabeth Campbell: 817-390-7696, @fwstliz

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