CAVE CITY — The Cave City Council adopted a resolution earlier this week giving Mayor Dwayne Hatcher permission to apply for grant funding to cover the purchase of bullet-resistant vests for the city's police officers through the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security earlier this week, but before the city council could actually adopt the resolution, Councilman John Grissom questioned purchasing the vests prior to receiving grant funding.
“Before this grant is applied for, can we not go ahead and make this purchase and get this taken care of,” Grissom said. “If we get the grant, just put that money back into our general fund or the police department's general fund?”
Robert Smith, office manager, explained the city couldn't use the grant funds to reimburse the city for the purchase, and if the city went ahead and bought the bullet-resistant vests, it likely would not receive the grant.
Grissom then questioned how long it would take to get the grant, and Hatcher replied he wasn't sure.
“I will say this, we are aware or our vest situation and they have … I know some of the officers, (the vests) that they got too long ago, they are keeping them with them and using them,” the mayor said. “We did find three or four that were up to date.”
Smith pointed out that there were five bullet-resistant vests that expired at the end of June, making them unusable.
“We've got five that are running out this month, so we are going to apply for it now, but we don't know if it's going to be 30 days, 60 or 90 (days) or six months before we get any type of feedback on that grant at all? Basically, that's what it could be?” Grissom said.
He continued that he was primarily concerned about the safety of the police officers, but was also worried about the city being liable for not providing the police officers with up-to-date equipment.
Councilman Mike Houchens pointed out that if a police officer is shot in the line of duty and dies, his family will not receive life insurance benefits due to his bullet-resistant vest being out-of-date.
“There's no discussion as far as I'm concerned. If we need to buy five, then we need to make a motion tonight to buy five vests and get the guys fitted that need them and get them bought,” Grissom said. “I'm not going to be held responsible for the city's actions of just waiting for a grant for free money. Life means more to me than something the government is going to ship here whether it be 30 days or six months. I don't see the purpose of waiting on it.”
Houchens noted that the police officers do have bullet-resistant vests that are up-to-date, but said they are not suitable for summer weather. The bullet-resistant vests the police officers are in need of are the more lighter in weight.
“Can we just not go ahead and make a motion to buy five if we are going to be out five by the end of the month?” Grissom said.
Councilwoman Beverly Ford then asked if the rest of the police officer's bullet-resistant vests were up-to-date, and Smith said yes.
“That's the last count that I was told,” Smith said. “That's one reason that we tried to get the former administration, Jennifer and I, to keep applying for this grant on a regular basis and it wasn't done.”
The city council then agreed to purchase five bullet-resistant vests. It also agreed to adopt a resolution to apply for the grant to help fund the need for bullet-resistant vests in the future.
Ford asked how long it would take to receive the bullet-resistant vests.
“It should be a fairly quick turn around,” Hatcher said. “I can't give you an exact date.”
Ford then asked if the city would receive them before those five expired at the end of the month, and Hatcher said he thought so.