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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane police consider buying new ballistic shields

Spokane police Sgt. Terry  Preuninger holds one of the department’s ballistic shields, which are used by patrol and SWAT officers to approach dangerous situations, usually with one officer holding the shield and another “steering” the duo with a gun at the ready. Lights on the front can illuminate a scene or subject. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane Police Department is considering buying up to a half-dozen new ballistic shields designed to stop rifle rounds.

Sgt. Terry Preuninger, a police spokesman, said the department wants to purchase five or six new Protech Intruder G2 shields, which range in price from about $2,000 to about $3,400.

That would bring the total number of ballistic shields in the department’s arsenal to about 25, he said.

The shields are used by patrol officers and members of the department’s SWAT team. They are oblong, made of polyethylene and equipped with rechargeable, battery-powered LED lights.

“If you’re in a defensive posture, you’re some place where you have a person who’s barricaded, you have a perimeter around them,” Preuninger said, “the shields are a great addition to other forms of cover – vehicles, things like that.”

Preuninger said many police departments seem to be using the shields more often.

“There’s a backlog because there’s a high demand for them,” he said.

Preuninger said the Spokane Police Department had only two shields when he started working for the agency in the 1990s. Now, he said, the department wants to have a large supply of shields for any officer who requires one.

“They get used often,” he said. “Dozens and dozens of times a year, they get used both in a patrol capacity and a SWAT capacity.”

Two of the department’s shields recently were sent back to their manufacturer because some of the outer lining had started to peel off, Preuninger said.

If the shields are shot, they are decommissioned, he said:

“Any kind of ballistic material that gets shot, we would take out.”