St. Louis and Alma police officers are a bit safer this year after grants from the Luneack Foundation allowed the departments to buy supplemental body armor capable of stopping a rifle bullet.
“It’s a threat we have to deal with and prepare for,” said St. Louis Police Chief Richard J. Ramereiz Jr.
Alma Public Safety Administrator Mark Williams was first to request a grant to buy the body armor at a Luneack Foundation meeting in October. Five or six were approved; one for each patrol car Alma has. Foundation Treasurer Doug Hoard then suggested that St. Louis be included.
Chief Ramereiz was in attendance and asked how many vests he would need. The answer was three, and there was enough leeway to add those to the total.
The amount of the St. Louis grant was $1,711. Ramereiz added another $96 from department funds to cover the accessories he wanted.
The vests will sit in each of St. Louis’ three patrol cars and only be worn as needed.
Good thing, too, as they weight upwards of 20 pounds, and police officers already carry 30-40 pounds of equipment, including “soft” body armor that can stop a pistol round but not a rifle round.
One of the accessories is a medical pack containing everything an officer needs to treat wounds, including a clotting sponge, tourniquet, gauze and scissors. The medical pack is the large item attached to the vest Sgt. Kristi Forshee wears in the photo above. To the right of the medical pack are four pouches for ammunition magazines. Above the medical kit and magazine pouches is a velcro area where a POLICE patch can be affixed.
St. Louis police officers get regular training in “tactical combat casualty care,” said Ramereiz so that they don’t have to struggle to remember what to do should the need arise. Officer Brandon Crowther is the department’s combat casualty instructor. “He’s got a true interest in this kind of stuff,” Ramereiz said.
The armor comes from AR500 Armor of Phoenix, Arizona.