TERRE HAUTE — A $5,000 grant has been used to update equipment used by public safety officers at the Terre Haute International Airport.
Seven new handguns with holders, extra magazines and ammunition, along with seven duty belts with magazine pouches and one Taser gun were purchased with funds received from the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office through its asset forfeiture fund.
“This has been a big boon to us,” Airport Authority Director Dennis Wiss said Wednesday. “The airport authority simply did not have the money to do this.”
The equipment was displayed Wednesday morning during a news conference with Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt and public safety Chief John Beasley, who submitted the request for funding assistance. The funds are the result of forfeitures and deferrals from drug seizures and other law enforcement actions. Wiss explained that as a result of funding shortfalls, the public safety officers had been using handguns and equipment that had become aged and worn. The new handguns will replace others that were in excess of 15 years old while the new nylon duty belts will also replace older belts that had exceeded their usable life. The addition of the Taser gun will gives officers a non-lethal means of subduing a suspect if required.
The new handguns and gear are much lighter than the older gear, reducing the amount of weight officers must carry, Beasley said.
“After a while, that weight just takes a toll on you,” he explained.
The airport’s Public Safety Department monitors and patrols the airport property of more than 1,600 acres, as well as ensures the safety and security of the Airport’s tenants and patrons. The public safety department also ensures compliance with federal airport security regulations, and also provides mutual aid assistance to other law enforcement agencies and the Indiana Air National Guard, when requested. The officers have already trained and qualified with the handguns, and will complete their Taser training in the near future.
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