Harrisburg approves purchase of police riot gear

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – City Council voted 5-1 Tuesday night to approve the purchase of $65,000 worth of riot gear for the police department.

The city currently uses gear that is more than 25 years old.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse says he does not want city residents to get the wrong impression.

“I want to make it clear we are not interested in making the police a military. We are interested in keeping them safe and allow them to do their job better,” Papenfuse said.

Council President Wanda Williams says she understands the public concerns.

“We heard them loud and clear,” she said. “We understand their concerns, but we have to give our police the opportunity to stay safe and return home to their families if there is chaos.”

Williams says the board also voted to approve a task force that will consist of members of the Fraternal Order of Police, city residents, and council members. Williams says it gives all interested parties an opportunity to discuss and address problems in the city and build trust between the police and the community.

Williams says as soon as the funds are reallocated, she hopes the police department will put in an order for the new gear as soon as possible.

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