File photo of police shield with old "candy bar" cellphone on officers waistband

by Robin Kemp

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1 to consider various funding agreements for police and the district attorney’s office, as well as a contract amendment to cover increased ammunition prices and acceptance of a grant to cover riot suits, shields, and medical field kits for the Clayton County Police Department.

Ammunition prices have skyrocketed amid increased demand, which is widely attributed to the combination of COVID-19, the upcoming Presidential election, and political unrest. Local firearms dealers, like others around the country, are experiencing spot shortages of popular calibers like 9 mm, with prices at two to three times above normal.

“Ammunition prices, in general, rise each year with inflation,” said Police Chief Kevin Roberts.

Precision Delta, a Mississippi-based remanufactured ammunition company won the contract after CCPD claimed a quality drop in Covington’s Specialty Arms in November 2018,

As for the riot gear, Police Chief Kevin Roberts said the need is real.

“This year alone, Clayton County Police Department personnel have been requested to assist several of our neighboring agencies,” Roberts explained. “Through these requests, we have assessed our current protective gear, which was purchased six years ago, and have found the need to replace and upgrade much of this equipment, which is now antiquated.”

CCPD has assisted Atlanta during the demonstrations downtown this summer.

Roberts explained that a riot suit, “in general, is a protective suit that our officers will wear during times of civil unrest to assist in protecting their head, body, and limbs from additional harm.” ¬†

The BOC also is expected to authorize an application to the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant for $120,161. That grant would fund officer safety and protective equipment for CCPD, specifically:

  • 60 riot suits
  • 400 medical field kits
  • 59 ballistic shields

No county funds would be used for the purchase.

The BOC also will consider a budget amendment to set up “Federal Equitable Sharing” between CCPD and the District Attorney’s office for FY 2020. The two agencies will share $96,296.

In addition, the Clayton County Emergency Management Association is asking the BOC to approve federally-funded work-study positions for eligible Clayton State University students.

Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson Battalion Chief Laura Richardson said, “CCFES collaborated with Clayton State University just over six years ago to begin a work-study program. The students that are selected must have a degree path that is related to the field. Students assist with strategic planning, developing internal and external preparedness information, and community outreach.”

Students majoring in criminal justice, business administration, and medical or public safety-related programs, as well as other programs related to emergency management, would be allowed to work up to 19.5 hours each week at $10 per hour, Richardson said.

Other items of note on the agenda include:

Board appointments up for consideration include:

  • filling the Code Enforcement Board seat of the late Sylvia Shellnut
  • appointing someone to fill Gina McComb’s Tourism Authority Board seat (District 2) following her Aug, 6 resignation
  • appointments to the Mental Health Community Board for the seats of Alieka Anderson (District 1), Martin Thompson (at-large), Eric Bell (at-large), and Bryan Flowers (at-large).

Tuesday’s meeting starts at 6:30 at 112 Smith St., Jonesboro and can be viewed as a livestream or later as a video on the BOC website and on CCTV 23.