Lafayette Police To Receive Updated Riot Gear
Before Tuesday night's Lafayette Consolidated Government Council meeting, Lafayette Police Department's acting chief Reginald Thomas was concerned that his officers were not amply equipped for violent protests or riots.
But with little discussion, the council voted 9-0 to allocate the $120,000 in funds needed to purchase the personal safety gear for every police officer in the city.
The council held the emergency meeting following its regularly scheduled meeting to address this need within the department.
Following the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castillo, protesters have taken to the streets in public displays of affliction.
While not all of these protests prove to be violent, law enforcement officers have been the targets of violence during protests and riots.
When groups planned protests in Baton Rouge following the death of Alton Sterling, law enforcement leaders in the Capital City looked to the Lafayette Police Department for help, Mayor-President Joel Robideaux recalled.
Robideaux and Thomas were met with concerns of offering the officers' assistance without them being properly equipped with updated riot gear.
"We were going to be sending them to do something and they were going to be inadequately protected," Robideaux told the council.
In Lafayette, a peaceful protest was held last week, but not without rumors of violence aimed at law enforcement officers.
"Because Lafayette has not had any any problems in the past, as far as safety equipment for the officers, it was something that has not been invested in in quite some time."
With the current equipment, Thomas told the council there were not enough helmets for every officer. The helmets that the department does own were purchased in 1970, he said.
Now, with the approved resolution, Thomas said every officer in a marked patrol vehicle will be equipped with personal protection.