By Hank McCoy
The city commission voted to allow the use of to use forfeiture funds to purchase rifle plates as a result of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Rifle plates are metal plates used to protect police from rifle fire — as opposed to the standard bulletproof vest.
On June 17, city commission authorized the purchase of ballistic rifle plates for the Coral Springs Police with the condition that out of the $220,000 allotted for use from the forfeiture funds, any leftover would be returned to the fund.
Chief Perry estimates the total cost would be between $100,000 and $160,000 depending on officers wanting the rifle plates for both front and back or just front plate protection.
The forfeiture funds come from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund — or LETF, which is money taken from the seizure and forfeiture of property used in the commission of felonies. Proceeds and interest earned from LETF funds are to be used for school resource officers, crime prevention, safe neighborhood, drug abuse education, and prevention programs, or other law enforcement purposes.
Commissioner Joshua Simmons expressed concern regarding the national movement against police brutality taking place across the country and explained that with many calling to defund the police, whether you agree with it or not, there’s going to be scrutiny over police funding.
“When I first saw this on the agenda, it gave me a bit of pause,” Simmons said, ”However, I’ll give my support for this because these rifle plates are defensive in nature — they can’t be something used aggressively when dealing with the community.”
Commissioner Larry Vignola mentioned the importance of the rifle plates because of the incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and that the officer didn’t have a vest during the shooting.
Vignola is confident that if they had these rifle plates, the School Resource Officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas would have been more likely to engaged the shooter.
“After the MSD incident, our officers began to explore the use of rifle plates,” Chief Perry explains, “Currently, we wear bulletproof vests that can stop most rounds, but they won’t stop rifle rounds.”
The purchase of rifle plates for Coral Springs police officers passed unanimously by the commission.
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- Hank McCoy is a writer and journalist covering music, politics, and culture on his blog Hank’s Luncheonette, as well as currently working on publishing his first novel. Hank grew up in Parkland and graduated from FAU before moving to Chicago where he worked in the music industry as an artist and talent booker when he wasn’t throwing people out of punk bars. Hank recently moved back to South Florida after living overseas in Berlin while he traveled to Europe.
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