Peoria Firefighters May Get Body Armor

Aug 8, 2019

The Peoria Fire Department may receive body armor in the wake of recent mass shootings. 

The Peoria City Council will vote next Tuesday on the purchase 20 ballistic vests and 16 ballistic helmets for the fire department for usage in "high-risk" situations. 

Second District Councilman Chuck Grayeb says first responders need this gear as mass shooting incidents become more common. 

“As we try to bridge the gulf between the very unfortunate conditions that have been allowed to exist in our country, we felt it was very important to protect all of our employees who are on the front lines," he said.

 

The Peoria Fire Department currently doesn't possess any body armor. 

Peoria Fire Department Assistant Chief Tony Ardis said the police and fire departments have been training together for over a year on their joint response to a mass shooting or terrorism incident in Peoria. He said the gear purchases have been slated for several months. 

“The biggest misconception is when it comes to active shooter events is that it’s all involving law enforcement," Ardis said. "And the reality is, it’s the law enforcement officers and the fire departments literally working side by side in those environments.” 

Ardis said FEMA identifies Peoria as a "high risk" target for a critical incident. Peoria received a $1.2 million terrorism preparedness grant from FEMA via the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. 

The total $47,547 purchase also includes 35 rifle plate vests and five armored shields for the police department.