Austin City Council to vote on APD rifle-resistant body armor grant Thursday

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin is releasing new information as it continues to re-evaluate police grants.

On Thursday, the Austin City Council will vote on two state grants.

A $310,000 grant would provide rifle-resistant body armor for 400 Austin police officers. This will replace the current armor and protect officers from rifle fire. This is top of mind after a bulletproof vest potentially saved the life of a Cedar Park police officer last month.

If approved, the funding will also allow the police department to replace armor set to expire in December. The city noted turnaround time from order to delivery averages about two months.

The other state grant of $157,222 will allow the city to purchase two mapping systems and a searchlight for the police helicopters. The city pointed out that in addition to police work, the helicopters are used to search for missing people and lost hikers.

Initially, council was supposed to vote on funding for APD’s Project Safe Neighborhood — an effort to reduce violent crimes — during last Thursday’s council meeting but they postponed that vote. They’ve since learned the U.S. Attorney’s Office will no longer fund that grant.

Council will have to pull the Project Safe Neighborhood grant application from Thursday’s agenda.

This all comes following the approval of several state grants last Thursday including funding for the Austin Police Department’s helicopter and a mental health program for first responders.

When KXAN spoke with APD’s Grant Manager Kyran Fitzgerald, she said in total there were more than three dozen active and pending grant projects.

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