With new city budget taking effect, SAPD will soon see ballistic glass on more department vehicles

The city will spend $1.75 million in the coming years to upgrade windshields and side windows on police vehicles.

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio’s new city budget takes effect this weekend, and it includes a budget-line item for bulletproof protection.

This comes after a month marked with several San Antonio police officers being shot.

In the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, the city will spend $210,000 to replace the windshields and side glass on 30 specialty unit vehicles, like SWAT and the Street Crimes unit.

The amendment proposing this item also asked for $1,540,000 for the Fiscal Year 2025 budget.

“It’s effective, obviously, but it’s also very expensive,” Michael Wanke said.

Wanke is the president of A1 Glass Coating. His team installs forced entry protection films and bullet-resistant applications to glass. He said forced entry protection film would not resist a bullet but would help slow down people looking to smash through glass.

On Friday, Wanke said his team was working to install the bullet-resistant application to glass for SAPD’s St. Mary’s location.

“People want to feel safe,” Wanke said.

Although it is a cheaper option, Wanke said the bulletproof film cannot yet be installed on vehicles.

He said that’s because of the curved shape of windshields and car windows.

“You’re somewhat limited on the car as to the thickness of film that you can apply to it,” Wanke said.

Gun safety advocates like Erika Salazar, a trustee with the Bexar County Gun Safety Coalition Trustee, said getting this funding is a step in the right direction but not a solution for gun safety across San Antonio.

“We want our officers safe. Absolutely,” Salazar said. “But what is going to sustain (SAPD) in the long run instead of a quick solution?”

Wanke said this is a start that can buy a person more time during a dangerous situation.

“The thicker the film, the more time you buy from somebody getting inside,” Wanke said.

About the Authors:

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.