NEW ULM, Minn. (KEYC) - Tensions surrounding the presidential election along with recent civil unrest has the New Ulm Police Department taking a second look at its needs for this year.
At its meeting last night, the New Ulm City Council approved tens of thousands of dollars in funding for the city’s police department to purchase riot gear. The more than $47,000 includes a first responder kit and gas masks, and civil disturbance riot scene kits for 23 officers, along with 12 tasers. The department’s old gear was about 47-years-old, and they got rid of it in 2015 when it was considered no longer serviceable. The new gear wasn’t previously in the budget for 2020, but police chief Dave Borchert says it was a necessary add on.
“I do believe there’s more of a need right now. during the election cycle things are expected to get tenser and we’re certainly encouraged to plan for that and prepare for that and I certainly don’t' expect anything in New Ulm but my job is to prepare and protect my officers to the best of my ability,” says Borchert.
Borchert says the gear can also be used for high-risk building entries among other scenarios. Other local departments have already ordered similar equipment, including the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.