Bulletproof: APD secures funding for body armor

APD Chief Mike Lamb receives the National Police Weekly Proclamation Certificate from Deputy Mayor Sandra Kilgore. Your photo has been submitted.

asheville – On April 23, Vice Mayor Sandra Kilgore, acting on behalf of Mayor Manheimer, announced May 12-18, 2024 as National Police Week and May 15, 2024 as Peace Officers Memorial Day. submitted a declaration to do so. Present to accept the proclamation were Asheville Police Department (APD) Chief Mike Lamb, Lt. Sean Erdema, Lt. Janice Hawkins and Lt. Jonathan Brown. Members of the Police Benevolent Association and the Fraternal Order of Police also attended.

This declaration is a great honor bestowed on law enforcement agencies and personnel by Congress and the President of the United States, recognizing their critical role in protecting our rights and freedoms and protecting us from violence. The approval vote was obtained by the City Council. Provide essential public services. This is especially heartbreaking considering that six days later, four police officers were killed and four others injured while attempting to execute a warrant in Charlotte.

After the presentation, Mr. Kilgore said: “We are grateful to have such a dedicated police force here in Asheville. Sometimes we don’t show them the gratitude we should or understand the sacrifices they make. Yes, they need our support.”

Staff shortages and personal protection

One of the biggest challenges facing APD is severe staffing shortages, in part because wages are lower than those offered by other departments in the state, and the department is in need of new protective equipment. Chief Lamb said of bulletproof vests: Bulletproof vests have saved more than 3,100 police officers from death or serious injury (see IACP/DuPont Kevlar Survivors Club). I wear a bulletproof vest every day when I’m in work uniform. For the past 26 years, my armor has helped me feel protected when approaching dangerous situations involving firearms. ”

Funding for bulletproof vests on the agenda

Prominent Asheville citizens formed the Asheville Public Safety Coalition in an effort to support police at a time when many were working to defund the police. The group’s co-founder, Honor Moore, appealed to the city council for a 6% raise, still below most municipalities, and funding for bulletproof vests. “One of the reasons I want to talk about consent is that bulletproof vests are on the ballot, and in the past one of our city council members didn’t support requiring body armor for police,” Moore said. .

APD Ride-Along Program

In an effort to understand what police officers actually do, Moore enrolled in the Asheville Police Department’s ride-along program. This program helps community members understand the broader police mission and the important role that police officers play. Moore gave her a ride in the East Asheville area, where two murders have already occurred. The first call she received was about an armed robbery. One or two police officers cannot respond to an armed robbery. We have to pull police officers from other districts.

“I didn’t really understand what the understaffing situation was until I got on it,” Moore said. “I was very naive. I had no idea. The call volume in the car was displayed on the screen, and it was unbelievable. It’s hard work, and it’s really dangerous work.”

Mr. Moore learned that there are three types of body armor. These are body armor for everyday use, types of body armor depending on the type of gun likely to be used, and types of body armor worn by soldiers in situations such as being a marksman. Moore concluded his comments by asking the City Council to vote in favor of a 6% wage increase and funding to purchase bulletproof vests.

Ronnie votes against

Councilmember Kim Roney, who has voted against funding bulletproof vests twice in the past, voted against it again. Instead, Ronnie had a list of people she wanted to recruit for what she called a Holistic Empathic Assistance Response Team (HEART). This includes a 911 call center mental health clinician, a uniquely qualified behavioral health clinician, and a community response team that includes care navigators. These include long-term follow-up, joint response forces, and violence interruption programs. One might wonder how this would help armed robbery.

Councilor Antanette Moseley questioned Ronnie’s plans, noting that they are “all functions of county government and are, in fact, legally mandated through Health and Human Services.” She expressed her concern that this would step on the county’s toes.

Funding for bulletproof vests was approved by a majority vote.

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