The Bordentown Township Committee recently passed a resolution for the purchase of active shooter equipment for two incoming police officers.
The decision came at a July 15 township committee meeting for a resolution to authorize the purchase of ballistic helmets and active shooter vets kits for the township police department.
Bordentown Township Police Chief Brian Pesce said the approved resolution will provide two incoming officers with equipment designated for potential active shooter incidents, an ongoing four-year initiative for the department in response to multiple events nationwide.
“You can’t bury your head in the sand and act like it can never happen in your community because we have seen it happen all over the country,” Chief Pesce said. “You need to be prepared for it and we hope that it never happens here, but we train and we equip our officers to be ready if they ever get that call.”
In addition to the department’s 25 active serving officers, Pesce explained that the kits provide officers with the necessary armor and ability to carry extra gear in the event of an active shooting incident to not only equip them to confront a threat, but to match their potential resources as well.
Pesce said that the officers carry these items in their patrol cars and have it available in the event that an active shooter situation occurs.
“It’s an investment in today’s policing,” he said. “We expect and we mandate that officers rapidly respond to these types of incidents. They can’t just stand outside and wait for a SWAT team to show up. That’s not how it happens. The first officers on scene are expected to go into a scene to engage the threat whether it’s a school or business, so we have to give them the proper armor to do this.
“If an officer goes inside to engage a threat with a high-powered rifle, which the perpetrators are usually equipped with in these types of incidents, we need to match them with similar armor,” Pesce said.
Pesce explained that the equipment contains a vest, specially raided for rifle ammunition because the department officers’ daily vests are only raided for handguns rounds. The police chief said the vests are not raided for a ballistic confrontation with someone using a high-powered rifle.
The police chief also said that the heavy armored plates within the active shooter vests are only only worn in the event of an incident. He said that the vests are simply too heavy to wear for daily shifts, which would be physically demanding on his officers to carry around.
“This is an enhanced, rifle raided vest that officers can throw over on top of what they have now or to take off their daily vest as well as a ballistic helmet that they can throw on that’s also raided to withstand rifle rounds,” he said. “The vest also contains extra pouches to carry rifle magazines for extra ammunition and handgun magazines.”
Although the equipment has become standard protocol to have for many police departments nationwide, Pesce said that preparedness and training for these types of situations brings a great deal of significance to his department.
The police chief said that along with the purchase of additional equipment, the department has also teamed up with the Bordentown schools to conduct active shooter training scenarios.
“It’s something that’s important to me because it deals with potentially active shooter incidents,” he said. “We have dedicated a lot of time and resources to be prepared for those types of incidents.”