LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - For the last five years, Lincoln Fire and Rescue has been trying to work Kevlar vests into their budget.
Their efforts keep failing, but this story is a perfect example of why they believe they're so needed. It's what happened near Cornhusker Highway and Northwest 8th that caused this call to come across the scanner:
""LFR Northmain West Cornhusker is asking for you code 3 please, sounding pretty panicked."
Police say Steven Howard called 911 because of exposure to cold. When firefighters showed up, police say he pulled out a gun.
"Hey we're getting party out of car asked if he had any weapons, as we approached him he pulled a handgun out and put it right in my face," said a member of LFR.
The firefighters was able to knock the weapon, which ended up being a pellet gun, out of Howard's hands. Nobody was hurt, but its situations like these that make firefighters want an extra layer of defense under their gear.
"For the last five years LFR has been trying to get body armor for all first responders," said LFR Captain Rick Schneider.
Schneider said the number of assaults against medical providers, EMS personnel and fire fighters keeps going up across the nation, and Lincoln is no different.
But it's expensive, Kevlar vests run between $200 to $300. And with about 300 fire fighters it could cost the department between $60,000 to $90,000. They've tried securing the money in the budget process and through applied grants, but so far it hasn't happened.
"With all the other priorities and needs, it's a matter of just one priority of many," said Schneider.
Captain Schneider said incidents like this remind him to be extra cautious, but these incidents don't stop him from showing up to work every day to help Lincoln.
Schneider said they do credit the police department with keeping them safe in many dangerous stations, but that the department is going to keep trying to better protect themselves.