Liberty Police first in the area to use protective shield - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Liberty Police first in the area to use protective shield

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Boardman Twp Police purchasing Angel Armor Boardman Twp Police purchasing Angel Armor
LIBERTY TWP, Ohio -

As National Police Week is honored around the nation, the issue of safety is a top priority with police shootings and murders at an all time high nationwide.

But 21 News has learned that Liberty Police are the first in the area now using the Riggs Shield to keep their officers safe, and Boardman Police are following suit.

Sergeant Mike Shuster says it was in late 2017 when Liberty Police ordered it's first Riggs Shield and they put it in his police cruiser as a trial run to see if it would be an efficient and effective tool to use on patrol.

"It just pops off and if you're sitting in the car, the same.  It just pops off.  You can block your face and neck area and then if you were to get out of the car you just walk with it up against your arm," Sgt. Shuster said.

The Sergeant is describing how easily he can grab his Riggs Shield off of his driver's side door and use it if he needs it.  Bullet proof protection the department has acquired for every single cruiser to protect an officer's head and neck while seated in a vehicle, but they're versatile.  One reason why the police chief purchased them.

"It's very versatile.  As we sit in our car most of our vehicles are our office.  And we need our tools ready at hand, and this is just an extension of one of our tools.  So in the event we felt threatened by an unknown cause we could grab our shield and use it while we're in the car.  Or if we were to go search a house or to go look for a potentially dangerous person we'd be able to take our shield with us," Sgt. Shuster said.

The shield is made of level 3-A Ballistic material, much like a police vest that officers wear.  It can stop any handgun round.  It's also been tested and it can stop a knife and can even be used to help with crowd control.

According to Liberty Police Rich Tisone each individual Riggs Shield costs about $300 but they were purchased with forfeiture money from items seized from drugs raids or other illegal activity, so no taxpayer dollars were used.

The creator of the Riggs Shield designed it based on an ambush attack in California.  The California Deputy had his co-worker ambushed while he was sitting in his patrol car, and that's how he came up with the concept of a shield for his patrol vehicle.

And it's the same in Boardman Township.  According to Police Chief Todd Werth forfeiture dollars from drug investigations in the amount of $23,797.55 were approved just two days ago by Township Trustees to be used to purchase ballistic panels for 24 patrol cruisers.  The company is Angel Armor, and while it is a different product than the one in Liberty - it's the same idea.

Local law enforcement finding ways to shield their officers from dangerous or potentially deadly threats.
 

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