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Without ballistic vests, North Huntingdon emergency response team likely to disband

April 1, 2018

North Huntingdon’s special emergency response team, which is trained to respond to school shootings or police standoffs, will likely disband if it doesn’t get new ballistic vests this summer, a team member said.

“This is a piece of equipment we can’t do without. It is not frivolous,” Sgt. Jay McCurdy told the North Huntingdon commissioners recently.

The life expectancy of the 5-year-old bullet-resistant vests used by the team expires in June. Without new vests, McCurdy said “we probably will disband.” The team, which has about a dozen members, was formed in 2005, he said.

McCurdy said he received a quote from a vendor that would supply the vests for $33,700 through the state’s cooperative purchasing agreement. The commissioners told him the township would have to advertise for bids because the cost is higher than the state’s $19,000 limit on non-bid purchases.

Commissioners authorized advertising for bids for the vests Wednesday.

Commissioner Duane Kucera, a retired township police officer, said the vests that emergency team members wear have more protective plates than those worn by officers on regular patrol. The team members also undergo specialized training to respond to emergencies, Kucera said.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.