CENTERVILLE, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Three police patrol cars are about to become bullet-resistant, thanks to the efforts of a fallen officer’s widow.
The project is two and a half years in the making and possible through Nannette Wride’s determination to make sure what happened to her husband does not happen to anyone else.
“It’s been a lot of talking and learning,” Wride explained.
The Blue Haven Foundation founder started her quest to protect police after her late husband, Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cory Wride was shot and killed in the line of duty — the fatal bullet smashed right though his windshield. At the fallen officer’s 2014 funeral, Wride’s son also vowed to protect other officers.
“The bulletproof glass idea — however we can make that possible, we won’t stop until we make it a reality. Our dad didn’t die for nothing, and you guys won’t either,” he promised thousands of law enforcement attendees.
Now, with the help of International Armoring Corporation, the group is starting that process, saying officers’ lives are more in jeopardy now than ever before.
“The world’s not really getting any safer…” said Mark Burton, CEO/President of International Armoring Corporation. “We talk about the events in Dallas, the events in Florida, Baton Rouge. They seem to be happening every day,” he explained.
But transforming a car is not easy and is not cheap, costing anywhere between $10,000 and $150,000.
“As a company, we’re going to help sponsor these and get the ball rolling,” Burton said.
Project leaders decided to start with three local patrol cars — one from each of Utah’s last three agencies to lose an officer in the line-of-duty. They say they are using the vehicles to make a mold, so to speak, so that one day, they will be able to protect every single patrol officer in Utah.
“We can gear up, if you will, for doing fleets of cars…” Burton explained.
Burton says the project is the first of its kind in the United States, and while those involved say they realize it is going to take time, they say they are committed to making it happen one car at a time.
“I am super, super excited, a little bit emotional, because if Cory had this in his police car, he wouldn’t be dead,” Wride said.
Project leaders say the first group of cars will be bullet-resistant and ready to go in about a week. While the car transformation is not an ‘end all, be all solution,’ they say it will certainly help police feel safer.