WPD receives $8,500 toward updated gear
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Police Department (WPD) received an $8,500 grant toward new updated protective gear for the Emergency Response Unit (ESU), also referred to as the SWAT Unit.
The Worthington City Council approved the proposed resolution, authorizing the grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry during last week’s council meeting.
“The grant is an OSHA grant through the Department of Labor,” said Sgt. Brett Wiltrout of the WPD. “This grant had to be used for safety and protective purposes only.”
The ESU received eight new assault enhanced tactical vests, as well as a ballistic shield.
“The vests are about $1,900 each. We had some money budgeted for this as well, plus the grant,” Wiltrout explained. “These vests are high-powered and can sustain rifle shots.”
“The ballistic shield, also called a bunker, is for the team to take cover behind to protect them when searching for suspects,” he added.
The department applied for the same grant 12 years ago and received protective gear, but it was time to upgrade.
“We applied for the grant in February, and we got the OK in the second week of March,” Wiltrout said.
The grant is designed to reduce the risk of injury and illness to workers, and a maximum of $10,000 can be awarded.
In order to receive the grant, the department had to come up with numbers of the cost for what would happen if they did not have this protective gear and an officer was injured.
“The chance of an officer getting injured during a SWAT entry is very high,” Wiltrout said. “There is always a serious possibility of injury or death in those types of situations.”
Wiltrout stated the community has always supported the WPD in updating equipment for all units.
“The council has been great to work with, and I think the last thing anyone wants is a hurt cop,” Wiltrout said.
The WPD will receive the updated equipment in six weeks.
“This equipment not only ensures our safety, but the suspects and the innocent public’s safety,” Wiltrout said.
Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.