City Council approves state grant to provide rifle-resistant body armor for SAPD

SAPD must apply for grant by Sept. 6

By Bill Barajas - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio City Council on Thursday voted to approve a state grant which would provide rifle-resistant body armor to the San Antonio Police Department.

"We're fortunate to live in a great community where the majority of people here support us," San Antonio police Sgt. Jesse Salame said.

The Rifle Resistant Body Armor Grant Program was started by Gov. Greg Abbott in response to the deadly police ambush in Dallas a year ago.

"We see all these horrible things happening, and, unfortunately, we haven't been immune to those things here. Even very recently with Officer (Miguel) Moreno being killed, Officer (Benjamin) Marconi being killed last year and then we had Officer (Nathan) Becerra, who was very seriously injured just weeks ago," Salame said.

The grant is made available to departments across the state. In all, $25 million will be used for body armor. The grant was approved by the City Council, but the Police Department still has to apply for it.

"Those vests will be primarily assigned to our officers in the tactical units. For example, the type of body armor that our SWAT team already possesses. Officers that are out there on the highway making a lot of the traffic stops, and then our officers that are running the search warrants and arrest warrants,” Salame said.

Salame said the problem with current vests is that they won't stop high-powered rifle rounds. The new ones are like the ones used by members of the military.

The Police Department must apply for the grant by Sept. 6. It will then decide what type of body armor best suits its team and how many it can afford with the $1.5 million the department will get.

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