Milwaukee police ballistic shields, new tools for high-risk calls

Milwaukee police are adding a new tool when responding to life-threatening calls – and it was all thanks to a $64,000 donation by Minnesota-based Johnson Brothers. 

"We need to be able to protect the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department," said Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman. 

The department is now adding new ballistic shields that can withstand rifle rounds. 

"This all got catapulted last year after the Uvalde, Texas shooting," said Milwaukee Police Officer Dennis Justus. 

Officer Justus said the new shields are heavy – each one weighs just shy of 30 pounds. 

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"Our officers are finding out that it is a burden to carry," Justus said. 

For comparison, a typical crowd control shield weighs roughly five pounds. 

Each police district will have ballistic shields available for patrol officers when they respond to high risk calls. The media was show a demonstration of how they are being used in training. 

"We have a shield operator, and we have two patrol rifle people cover one, cover two of those people, and then we have hands-free people behind there that would have less lethal capability or hands-free to provide first aid or take people into custody, your typical five-person team, we can add more to that," Justus said. 

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So far, 250 officers have trained to use the new shields. More will go through the training throughout the year. 

"We wanted that extra level of protection in order to supply that to our police officers to help save lives," Justus said.