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OPD Emergency Response Team Receives New Vests

Recently, the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation responded to a request from the Ottumwa Police Department to assist with the purchase of two bullet proof vests for the Emergency Response Team. The Emergency Response Team (ERT) was formed in 1991 to handle high risk calls and warrant services.  The ERT can be deployed for any situation that requires a police response that could likely result in serious injury and/or death to citizens or officers.  Due to the types of situations ERT members can encounter specialty vests are necessary.  Unfortunately, there have been no federal or state grants available for this type of vest.  During the past budgeting cycle, the department was able to budget three vests but had a need for a total five bullet proof vests for officers of the team which is where the Legacy grant of $6,170 was able to assist.  “We are fortunate to have Tom Mc.Legacy as a partner in helping to protect our officers,” said Police Chief Tom McAndrew.  “These vests are an important tool that many departments across the nation cannot afford, they provide our officers who respond to violent situations which often involving firearms, an extra layer of protection.”

The Emergency Response Team, which consists of thirteen members (all of whom are full-time sworn officers) was deployed a total of ten times in 2014 and eight times last year. “We are fortunate, as a community, to have the caliber of officers that we have,” stated Kelly Genners, Legacy Foundation vice president of programs and initiatives “There is no question that our officers must be given the tools necessary to perform their jobs effectively yet safely.”