DALLAS TOWNSHIP — Shootings in schools and workplaces may seem like they’re becoming more frequent across the country. Now, one police department in Luzerne County is taking steps to prepare itself for such an incident.
Step inside the back of the Dallas Township Police emergency response van, and you’ll see its shelves are stocked with something new: the department’s new active shooter response kits.
“It’s a strange piece of equipment that you purchase it and hopefully don’t have to deploy it,” said Dallas Township Police Chief Robert Jolley.
The kits are backpacks. Each one holds a heavy bulletproof vest that offers better and stronger protection in case a dangerous shooting happens.
“This is constructed of very heavy ceramic plates, where the soft body armor is made of fiber and to be worn as an officer’s on duty. This is a deploy-type device,” said Jolley.
Just to give you an idea of how heavy and strong this is, a regular bulletproof vest is about two or three pounds. The new ones are 16 pounds.
The department asked Misericordia University to help purchase 15 vests. Misericordia shelled out more than $5,000 for them.
There is one vest for each Dallas Township police officer and five extras if needed in an emergency situation.
“No one could ever predict where a violent incident might occur. And it could just as easily happen in a back mountain community,” said Robert Zavada, from the Misericordia University Campus Safety.
Heather Pilcavage is a freshman at Misericordia. She says anything that offers better protection is a good thing.
“There’s a lot more shootings and violence than I remember, so I think it’s a good idea. For people that are willing to risk their lives for us, we should be able to help them a little bit,” said Pilcavage.
The Dallas Township police chief says his department is the only one in our area that’s equipped with this gear. Again, he says it’s something he hopes the department never has to use but is glad to have it just in case.