CK police get new truck, SWAT gear, automatic rifles

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By Kellie Parkin

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant has arrived and the Cedar Key Police Department is using the $65,723 to prepare for the worst.

The grant paid for a new Ford F150 truck, three radar units, a speed trailer, one set of tactical ballistic gear, and four bullet-proof vests, said Police Chief Virgil Sandlin.

The tactical ballistic gear, which includes a vest, shield, and Kevlar helmet, will remain in the office so that the officer on duty will have access in the case of an incident like a school shooting or hostage situation, Sandlin said. “We can’t sit back and wait for the closest SWAT to get here. We’re going in and we’ll deal with the situation.”

Each of the four fleet vehicles are also being equipped with a laptop computer, push bumper, and an AR 15 automatic rifle.

“I’d rather have the equipment and not need it, then need it and not have it,” he said.

Sandlin has arranged with the Highway Patrol to assist with weapons qualifications for Cedar Key officers to use the new AR 15s.

Sandlin also said that officers have hit several deer over the years traveling back and forth from the county jail. The push bumpers will decrease the damage to the police vehicles in an accident, whether it be from an animal or another car, he said.