Following the death of trooper Chad Walker of the Department of Public Safety, groups in Texas are pushing for greater protection of law enforcement.
Walker was tragically shot through his patrol vehicle’s windshield and died later at a Waco hospital. Now, people are advocating installing bulletproof windshields into police vehicles.
According to KWTX, the nonprofit Mutual Assistance Group, Inc., which aims to help law enforcement and their families, is advocating for fitting existing vehicles with bullet-resistant windshields and windows. However, the biggest obstacle will be the price.
Bryce Worsham, president of MAG Inc., said “We thought a company coming in to retrofit vehicles would be the best and most cost efficient.”
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar also supported the idea. “It would cost less than half a million dollars to replace TxDPS patrol car windshields with a bullet-resistant product. I hope lawmakers are able to find a way to address that,” he tweeted.
However, experts in the business disagree about that price quote. Dave Applegate, the president of BullDog Direct Protective Systems Inc., a company that manufactures and installs bullet-resistant glass in law enforcement vehicles across the country, estimated a much higher cost than predicted by Hegar.
You’re probably talking four to five thousand dollars per windshield for assault rifle protection and $1,000 or more per each side door glass plus the installation,” Applegate said. For outfitting an entire vehicle, the price could hover around $10,000.
Likewise, 6 News received a similar answer. Frank Ruiz, Vice President at Armormax, a company that specializes in armored passenger vehicles, said that the cheapest bulletproof windshields (the one’s law enforcement usually use) start around $4,500.
“They can range from $4,500 per windshield all the way up to $9,000 per windshield,” Ruiz said. “Some police departments prefer just the windshields and the driver’s side, some do the windshields plus two front doors, some just do the front doors.”
Ruiz said that to replace all the windows in a vehicle with “ballist-glass,” made from multiple layers of glass and polycarbonate material, would cost from $24,000 to $32,000.
At this rate, a budget of half a million dollars, would only be able to replace 111 windshields across the state.
Members of MAG inc. are trying to raise funds to cover the costs of upgrades to Limestone County vehicles, and are planning to petition lawmakers to pass legislation that provides more funding for law enforcement vehicle protection.