Metro Police want armored vests and ballistic helmets for every officer. Their million-dollar request is a direct response to the killings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
"This plan will enhance the safety of the men and women in blue serving our city for years to come," Mayor Megan Barry said in a statement.
Officers on patrol already wear a vest under their shirt that can handle a handgun. But that doesn't stop a high-powered rifle. So police are adding a military flack jacket with heavy ceramic plates. The bullet-resistant headgear would also be new for most officers.
Police Chief Steve Anderson says everyone — even detectives — need the additional equipment. They will only put on the armor when the situation calls for it. But Anderson says he feels like people won't feel threatened.
"I'm not at all concerned about the public image," he says. "I think the public — after seeing what's gone on across the country — very much understands that our officers need to protect themselves."
Mayor Barry has proposed pulling a million dollars from the city's reserve fund to buy 1,500 vests and helmets. That comes out to about $720 per officer. The Metro Council will now have to sign off.