UPDATED: Bainbridge police expecting a riot?


The Los Angeles Downtown News reported today that the LAPD sold 75 used riot helmets to the Bainbridge police department.

Yes, that was 75 riot helmets. That’ll protect about 50 more heads than are ever in the Bainbridge police station at any one time.

Sound odd? The LA Downtown News thinks so.

“Bainbridge Island, Wash., sits in the Puget Sound about 35 minutes by ferry from Seattle. According to the city’s website, the 28-square-mile island has a “friendly aura, small town charm, and natural environments.”

And riots, maybe?”

You can read the rest of their post here.

I put in a call to the BIPD today for comment. Not holding my breath though. It took over a month to get a few bare facts about their recent federally-funded police boat upgrade, despite the calls, the e-mails, the in-person how-do-you-do’s. But I digress.

Until we know more, I suppose we can just imagine the types or riots (maybe over Strawberry Plant Park?) 75 newly-helmeted police might need to quash on this idyllic isle.

***UPDATE: The Bainbridge police chief got back to me today (Saturday). The helmets are to replace old ones, and the remainder will be sent to nearby police departments, he said. Click here for my news story.

By the way, I got plenty of tongue-in-cheek e-mails guessing what the helmets might be used for.

Here’s a sample:

-“Hopefully the experiences gained in quelling the disturbances in South L.A. will travel with the helmets, and provide the officers with a sense of how to master the riots down here on South Bainbridge. Ours is a most unruly and uncivil population in need of control.”

-“…the helmets are made of plastic, so maybe we could have them ground up, like tires, and reused as playfields? Save a few bucks, maybe?”

-“Listen, I’m down here in LA for a few days…and I’m thinking I could save the city a few bucks on shipping. Wonder if I should stop by the LA Police Department’s surplus shop and carry back a couple helmets in my luggage?”

9 thoughts on “UPDATED: Bainbridge police expecting a riot?

  1. I get it now. They finally plan to start enforcing the vehicle code and city ordinances that prohibit U-turns downtown, talking on cell phones, speeding everywhere, parking downtown while shopping/working in Seattle. They know it will cause a riot. Oh, the humanity!

  2. According to the LA council motions posted online, the helmets are out of warranty and would cost LA $415 a piece to dispose of. Sounds like LA got a deal, not sure what Bainbridge got.

  3. After reading what Mr. Fehlmen said, I am confused. He states that the LAPD helmets are to replace “expired” helmets that they already own. According to LAPD ( http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2009/09-2433_rpt_cla_10-15-09.pdf )the helmets that BIPD is getting are basically being given away due to the fact that the warranty is expired and that LA could not “realistically sell” the helmets. It seems that instead of having to pay to recycle/dispose of the helmets, they are giving it away and saving LA some money. In place of going to a landfill or being shredded & recycled, BIPD wants to put them on their heads?

    I’m not sure I want officers going on a “high risk search warrant” with equipment that is out of warranty. I know the city is low on money, but why are they putting officers unnecessarily at risk with out of date equipment? Wonder what OSHA, WISHA, or state labor & industries would think of that?

  4. Chief Fehlman’s creative way to help supply not only our own police department, but also Poulsbo and Suquamish, with perfectly good equipment at a savings (amongst the three)of more than $20,000, is to be commended, and is appreciated by this resident.

  5. I believe Jon Fehlman to be a grounded, caring, professional. What a perfect explanation to a funny sounding story. Kudos for his resourcefulness.

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