SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Sacramento Police Department is facing serious fines for failing to properly protect its officers from being shot in their cars.
CBS13 first reported that patrol cars were not equipped with bullet-resistant doors in 2017 after two officers were shot.
Now, the state’s Occupational Health and Safety Agency is taking notice.
A dramatic traffic-stop gunbattle with a murder suspect in 2017 left two Sacramento Police Officers shot.
The shootout revealed Sacramento Police cars were not equipped with bullet-resistant doors to protect officers during high-risk stops, something that other agencies like the Sheriff and CHP have.
“We’re just slow at adopting that new technology,” says Police Union President Timothy Davis.
He was among those urging the department to begin installing the ballistic shields in all patrol cars, but now more than a year and a half later, the project is still not complete.
“It’s a financial issue,” says Marcus Basquez of the Sacramento Police Department. “I know our department has gone before city council for an additional $100,000 to outfit our black and white vehicles with ballistic panels.”
All of the department’s new Ford Explorers come with panels capable of stopping most handgun rounds, but the department’s older vehicles are still being retrofitted with the shields. Total cost is estimated to be about a half-million dollars.
“Our officers’ lives are worth that investment,” says Davis.
Now, the department has been cited by CAL-OSHA with a “serious violation” for failing to “correct identified hazards associated with protecting patrol officers.” That comes with a $10,800 fine.
“I’m glad OSHA came in and looked at this and made sure our officers had the safety tools that they need,” says Davis.
The delay means each day some officers on the streets are protected, while others are not.
“We are working diligently to make sure we are 100% compliant by the end of July,” said Basquez.
Sacramento’s city attorney has appealed the CAL-OSHA violation. The case will be heard before an administrative law judge later this year.
The Sacramento Police Department has been praised for other investments in cutting-edge technology. The department was one of the first in our area to install in-car video cameras and require all officers to wear body cameras.
It is currently in the process of adding addition Shotspotter sensors to instantly detect gunfire, and officers are equipped with less-lethal weapons like tasers and bean bag guns to help reduce the number of fatal officer-involved shootings.