Earlier this year, Miami Police sent a bid request for 687 "active shooter kits," which consist of at least one front and one back torso stand-alone hard armor plate and a tactical carrying vest to be worn by the officers. This past March 7, a company offered a quote, claiming the purchase would cost the City of Miami $295,410. But the city didn't sign off on the order right away.
At Thursday's city commission meeting, Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes argued that, in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando a month ago, the department now needs to quickly purchase the equipment to keep civilians safe, reports the Miami New Times.
The City of Miami approved Miami Police's request.
But police-reform activists say the department is using a tragedy to milk expensive equipment upgrades from the public.
On June 28, Llanes sent a letter to the city commission, claiming the upgrade was necessary to keep civilians safe in the event that an active-shooter scenario were to occur in Miami. Miami-Dade County Police also requested $6.5 million for night-vision rifles and body armor last week.
"Due to the recent shooting in Orlando and those currently taking place internationally, the police department would like to take the proactive approach in getting the needed resources to provide critical protection to first responders in the aid and rescue of civilians threatened by an active shooter in a hot zone," Llanes wrote. He added later: "Should an officer respond to an active shooter incident, he will not only be outgunned, but his current body armor will not protect him or her from a serious or fatal wound."
This, he says, should justify leapfrogging the city's typical bid process, effectively ordering the active shooter kits in a no-bid deal.