Camouflage equipment sold to Ohio SWAT teams: Department of Homeland Security

AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – SWAT teams are called in to deal with the most dangerous situations, and these officers rely on protective gear to keep them safe, so it’s alarming that the Akron Police Department’s SWAT team was found to be using counterfeit body armor.

“We became part of a larger investigation,” Akron Police Lt. Agostino Micozzi told the Akron City Council, “We were notified by Homeland Security that the license plates that we had were part of a series of plates that were found to be counterfeit and therefore needed to be replaced.”

According to an Oct. 19, 2023 press release, the Department of Homeland Security is investigating counterfeit body armor being imported from China and sold to law enforcement agencies.

The armor in question does not meet the standards of the National Institute of Justice.

On May 6, Micozzi petitioned the Akron City Council for funding to replace the license plates.

“These are hard ceramic plates,” he says, “one on the front, one on the back and one on each side to protect against rifle bullets and more dangerous weapons.”

Micozzi said there may be an opportunity to receive compensation in the case, but the unit needs new equipment immediately.

Each set of plates costs $1,300, and the SWAT team needs 40 sets, for a total of $52,000.

The City Council unanimously approved the request on Monday.

FOX 8 reached out to Akron Police for more information about the counterfeit body armor, but police are currently declining to comment.

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