Through a collaboration with the Smith County District Attorney’s Office, Whitehouse police officers will now have improved protection in the event of dangerous situations.
On Wednesday, the Whitehouse Police Department received two ballistic shields from the DA’s office.
Whitehouse Police Chief Paul Robeson said officers have been using protective vests, but they’re not always wearing them. He said the shields are lightweight and versatile to help the department do its job.
“You’re able to protect your whole body,” Robeson said. “Anytime that we know there’s a weapon at the scene we’re going to bring them.”
The shields are made by the company, Hardwire Armor Systems.
Hardwire representative Kevin Chmielewski said the equipment is meant to protect law enforcement and military service members. The brand is lighter, flexible and cheaper than most other shields.
Smith County First Assistant District Attorney Chris Gatewood said the DA’s office tries to help the law enforcement agencies throughout the county when a need arises.
“Normally, an agency will identify a need,” Gatewood said. “We try to help law enforcement as much as we can. It builds relationships between the good citizens of Smith County.”
Robeson said a recent homicide investigation sparked his interest in seeking out additional protection.
On Jan. 3, Michael Shane Reed was allegedly stabbed to death by Lars Axel Theorine in a Whitehouse residence at 413 Hanks Street. Theorine was charged with murder.
“When that happened, I realized they (the department) had nothing,” Robeson said.
Robeson said he’s applied for a grant with the state for more shields.
“My goal is to have one in every (police) car,” he said.