Police departments in Cumberland Co. get cruisers with bullet-resistant doors

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UPPER ALLEN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The recent ambushes throughout the country on police officers have some on edge.

Silver Spring Township Officer Kevin Winter said, "Sometimes it just makes you think about your job and what you do every day. You hear it from people you know, 'How can you go to work every day knowing there's a chance you might not come home?"

Now some police departments in Cumberland County are taking extra precautions to prevent it from happening to one of their own.

Upper Allen Township Police Chief James Adams said, "We can never prepare for everything, but we can certainly do a good job as far as preparing for realistic events that we could be faced with."

Upper Allen Township police uses cruisers with ballistic panels on the inside of the doors that are bullet resistant.

Each panel is $1,500, and Adams gets them for both the driver and passenger side of the department's car doors.

"Do I need them?" Adams said, "Do we need fire insurance? Do we need car insurance? Well if something happens and you don't have it then you wish you would have. So I think it's a very small investment even though it's $3,000 per car to protect my officers."

The panels are made of Kevlar, which is the same material used in bullet-resistant vests officers wear. The material covers up to the officer's torso while they are in the car, and the panels are paid for by the municipality.

Winter said the panels can save a life if someone shoots at an officer during a traffic stop or ambush.

"We're out there every day," Winter said. You don't know who you're going to run into, what calls you're going to get. So any extra protection I have that can get me through today and get me home to my son, I'll take it."

His police department in Silver Spring Township also has the Kevlar panels in three police cars, but just on the driver's side.

"It makes your mind at ease more knowing that if something unfortunate could happen, you are protected even more now," Winter said.

But the panels aren't foolproof.

"It's unfortunate but if you look at a lot of the officer-involved shootings, some of the officers did everything tactically correct, but unfortunately sometimes bad things still happen," Adams said.

Both Cumberland County police departments are planning to get more of these cars with bullet-resistant panels in the upcoming months.