EDISON—Last week, Police Director Brian Collier and Mayor Jun Choi announced a local law enforcement initiative to provide Edison police officers and the township residents they serve with the necessary tools to swiftly respond to acts of violence.
The Edison Police Department is now the first municipal department in the state to be fully deployed with ballistic shields. The 34-inch high, 20-pound black shields with a light emitting diode system will be placed in first-responder Edison police cruisers. Each Edison school resource officer will also have a shield as well as three community resource officers who are continually in school settings.
“These shields protect our officers while allowing them to do their jobs. It is unfortunate, but true, that we can no longer have officers secure the perimeter of an emergency scene – a school, a mall, a hospital, waiting for a tactical team to arrive. Our frontline officers need to be prepared to respond to random acts of violence and these shields provide police with a good defense to allow them to take the immediate offense,” said Police Director Collier.
No taxpayer money was spent on acquiring the 33 ballistic shields that will be used by the Edison Police Department. A federal grant paid for the shields, which were purchased at the reduced rate of $1,000 thanks to a New Jersey National Guard Local Law Enforcement Assistance Program.
“While it is our desire that these shields never be used, today Edison has become a safer community with the addition of this equipment,” Choi said.
The ballistic shield is a tool utilized by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agents on a daily basis during enforcement operations. Before coming to Edison, Collier served 25 years for the DEA and maintains close ties to the agency. The DEA New Jersey Division will train Edison police officers on the proper use of the ballistic shields.
“DEA will provide our law enforcement partners with the best training and operational tools available in order to protect our communities. We want all law enforcement officers to be prepared to protect themselves and others,” said Gerard P. McAleer, special agent in charge of the DEA New Jersey Division.
The ballistic shields have been acquired to help maximize officer safety during patrol operations. Ballistic shields are typically deployed by officers while advancing toward or into an area of a threat. The shields are mobile under fire and can be used to cover and remove injured persons from the scene of a conflict. A single officer can move the shield as needed.
The ballistic shields are a useful “less-than-lethal” police option that can be deployed in numerous situations such as an active shooter, barricaded suspect, suspect armed with a knife, civil disturbance or any other situation that arises where the officer feels that deploying the shield will help maximize their protection or the public they are sworn to protect.
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