UHP rolls out bulletproof car

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SANDY -- The first ballistically-protected police car in Utah is now on patrol. A Sandy-based company outfitted the Utah Highway Patrol cruiser with its new armor and handed it over Tuesday.

It's called ballistically-protected rather than bulletproof because the armor protects the windows and door panels, but not every surface. High Protection Company (HPC) believes the armor will keep the trooper much safer in more dangerous times.

Dan Dresser, a vice president for HPC, showed KSL News an armored door window that stopped a bullet from a .44 Magnum. The bullet shattered the glass but did not break through.

"Whether it's 9 mm, .38 [caliber], .357 [caliber]; it will stop any of those rounds," Dresser said.

UHP Trooper Jeremy Horne expects his newly-armored cruiser will give him better protection in some deadly force situations.

"Obviously, it's pretty exciting," Horne said.

Several Utah officers have taken fire recently; one died last month.

"It's something we hope doesn't happen," Horne said. "It doesn't happen really often, but when it does that protection could be very instrumental in whether you make it or not."

HPC outfitted the cruiser with a ballistically-protected windshield and ballistically-protected windows and doors for the driver and passenger.

"From frontal and from the sides, the officer sitting in the vehicle or standing behind the door will be protected," Dresser said.

The glass is 21 millimeters thick, engineered with alternating layers of acrylic and tempered glass. Still, it looks like a regular car window.

"It's an armor package designed to be light-weight [and] inexpensive so that we can provide it to more officers," Dresser said. "And most important, it's removable."

That means when the patrol car is retired, the UHP can transfer the armored panels to a new car. Troopers can also replace damaged panels.

HRC says the armor adds less than 200 pounds to the vehicle and has minimal impact on driving performance. The company armored the cruiser for the UHP to test at a price tag of $6,000.

HPC also armored a SWAT vehicle, which it will put on display next month.

"Our goal is to provide something to law enforcement that will be more affordable for them to provide additional protection to their police forces," Dresser said.

The company primarily serves foreign clients with armored vehicles for politicians, diplomats and the military. HRC moved its headquarters to Utah from Atlanta one year ago.

E-mail: jboal@ksl.com


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