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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department is set to outfit patrol and specialized units with new bullet shields, attributing the addition to expiring shields and an increased need.

APD’s executive and command staff requested funds back in September “to better equip peace officers with protective equipment,” a department spokesperson told KXAN. Those requested shields will replace those set to soon expire.

APD’s patrol and specialized units — such as SWAT and Bomb Squad teams — will use the shields, with specific use prioritized for units that respond to “violent and serious offenses, such as with armed individuals.”

The spokesperson said Austin, along with other major U.S. cities, are seeing increases in violent crimes and a higher demand for bullet shields as a result.

“Austin (in line with other large cities across the nation} is experiencing violent crime increases and, at the state level, officials determined that law enforcement would benefit from additional officer protective equipment,” the spokesperson said.

The City of Austin received an award for the new shields, with action taken by Austin City Council on April 13 allowing them to accept the award. The department will purchase the equipment within the next few months, with delivery and deployment anticipated by September.