DANBURY — Newly sworn-in Danbury Police Chief Mark Pritchard asked council for some new safety equipment for his department during city council’s most recent meeting.

Council approved all of Pritchard’s requests for new vests, some new vehicle lighting and tires Thursday evening.

The goal is to bring the department up to date and create new incentives for the officers, Pritchard said.

“I had brought my body armor with me (from my previous job),” Pritchard said. “We were approved to buy four new vests because of obvious safety concerns. We also were approved to buy new tires and lighting that was worn out.”

The improvements will cost the city about $3,100, but the need for the refreshed equipment is imperative, Pritchard said.

“We had a lot of hand-me-downs — officers come and go,” Officer Cody Wiliamson said. “Uniforms are kind of expensive, and we understand it’s straining to the city so I think it’s a great incentive the city picked up that tab. Vests are pretty expensive, but for the protection of the officer it makes sense.”

Pritchard emphasized that while not all small police departments use bulletproof vests, they serve as a life-saving measure in the face of dangerous situation.

“I asked for the vests because even in this area, officers could be getting shot. It’s just an extra safety measure,” Pritchard said. “Most agencies furnish body armor, and so we are trying to get with the times and trying to get with where we need to be.”

In addition to the safety vests, the three full-time and one reserve officer received new uniforms, Pritchard said.

“These guys haven’t had new uniforms for the last few years,” Pritchard said. “New uniforms include the traffic safety vests and raincoats. We’re getting Danbury’s police department up to standard.”

Pritchard said the city has been extremely friendly and supportive with his goals for the department, which includes bringing 24-hour coverage to the area.

A new schedule will begin in February so the city is getting more nighttime coverage by the department, Pritchard said.

“A lot of the problem is that at nighttime, (criminals) know when we come and go,” Williamson said. “People know to conduct illicit activities, and I think this will negate a lot of that.”

Courtney Blackann is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0152.

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