Local police department getting riot shields, helmets

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Troy Police Department unveiled new riot control equipment on Monday. They say it’s a way to keep their officers safe if a large street level disturbance were to happen.

Troy police will now have 12 riot shields, 12 helmets and 8 power flares available to them. Some in the community are questioning the need for this equipment, but the police department says we’ve seen situations recently where the gear would have made a big difference.

A crowd of angry people back in august rallied outside of Samaritan hospital after a two teens were shot, one fatally. That was just one of the situations Troy Police Chief John Tedesco says the riot gear would have been helpful.

“Our officers were certainly outnumbered and a call for assistance was out, but in those waning moments that you get people there, there may have been an instance that you would’ve done that,” said Tedesco.

Now, the department has several shields, helmets, and flares to help them with similar situations. The $5,000 grant comes from a law enforcement focused charity called Spirit of Blue, after the organization received a hefty donation from the Dunkin Donuts Baskin Robins Community Foundation.

Ryan Smith with Spirit of Blue says the mood across the country has shifted to where police officers need more protection.

“It’s not just about putting up with police officers and the conduct of their duty but now it’s actively opposing police officers,” said Smith.

Not everyone agrees. Alice Green with the Center for Law and Justice says this gear will have an adverse effect.

“It’s dangerous to militarize the police department. Especially in this time when they’re having such difficulty getting the community to trust them,” said Green.

Some saying this equipment will make officers more lethal in the he field. But it’s not about arming them. It’s about keeping them safe.

“I don’t consider riot helmets and riot sticks to be a military movement,” said Tedesco. Meanwhile, Green thinks police need to shift the focus away from defensive equipment and toward building relationships in the community.

“Trust. Because that’s what makes people safe – not this confrontational kind of a relationship,” said Green.

Chief Tedesco says it would take another $30,000 to equip all the officers on the force. That would include training them on handling crowds.

The grant application was submitted by Sgt. Sam Carello on behalf of the Troy Police Department and was selected from a large number of applicants. Troy PD is very fortunate to have been chosen. This award comes at an excellent time. As municipalities are dealing with budget constraints and a lack of financial resources to purchase equipment , this award enables us to better serve our community with this necessary equipment – Captain Dan DeWolf.

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