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Columbus News

Posted on: August 11, 2023

Council signs off on Columbus Police getting ballistic helmets and rifle-rated shields


The Columbus Police Department is adding to its toolbox once again to help keep officers and the community safe.

The Columbus City Council during its regular Aug. 7 meeting approved the purchase of ballistic helmets and rife-rated shields for $21,715 for Columbus PD. The purchase was made possible thanks to a generous donation from the Myrtle Forsberg Trust.

“These items will be used to protect our officers in high-risk situations,” Columbus Police Capt. Doug Molczyk said. “I am excited to get these items ordered and I appreciate the City Council seeing the need. I would also like to thank the Myrtle Forsberg Trust for making this possible.”

Ballistic helmets are tactical helmets designed to protect the wearer’s head from threats such as bullets, blunt impact and blast debris. Rifle-rated shields are designed to provide protection against rifle fire.

The Columbus Police Department has been very proactive in recent years when it comes to equipping its officers with top-notch tools to keep them safe in the field. It brought in K-9 Eros in 2019, and more recently, drones and a tactical robot.

Back in May 2023, CPD members also underwent rigorous PepperBall certification training. PepperBall launchers fire pepper irritant powder projectiles that break on impact and can disable a threat from up to 150 feet away. According to the company’s website, “PepperBall is the world leader in powerful, safe and effective non-lethal self-defense solutions for adults of all ages and walks of life. Powerful and easy to use, the PepperBall system lets you act from a distance and gives you time to get away from a threat.” Pepper balls are projectiles that are filled with a non-flammable, organic, irritant powder derived from peppers.

Molczyk said CPD is always striving to improve on things in order to best protect the community and its own officers.

“The evolution of law enforcement is no different than any other profession. We have to evolve with the times in order to provide our customers the best service available,” Molczyk said. “We pride ourselves as being not only service providers to the community but also as community members.”

The Aug. 7 City Council meeting was pretty straightforward, though several things were accomplished:

- The council approved a grant application to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development asking for $435,000 for the Downtown Revitalization Project that would help with commercial rehabilitation, general administration and construction in conjunction with the project.

- Council also heard a quick update from City Engineer Rick Bogus on the progression of the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s 23rd Street Reconstruction Project. The first segment of the project is slated to be completed by fall 2023.

- The City Council also OK’d an application from The Friedhof Building, 1270 27th Ave., for a special designated liquor license on 27th Avenue from 13th Street south to the alley from 5:30 p.m.-midnight Aug. 25, 2023, for a street festival.

You can watch the “Council Minute” video featuring Mayor Jim Bulkley on the City’s YouTube channel by clicking here.

The City Council meets at 6 p.m. the first and third Monday of the month in its chamber on the third level of the Columbus Community Building, 2500 14th St.

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