Cleveland firefighters renew request for bulletproof vests ahead of RNC

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CLEVELAND – Cleveland firefighters want bulletproof vests and they want them in time for the city to be in the spotlight, the Fox 8 I-Team has learned.

The firefighters want the vests for when Cleveland hosts the 2016 Republican National Convention.

“We will get a call that comes in shots fired, assailant status unknown,” said Frank Szabo, president of the firefighters union.  “They will dispatch a fire truck to that as a first responder, but we are the only first responders that don’t have a vest.”

Szabo told Fox 8, shots were fired into two fire stations in the past year.

“The bullet went right by several firefighters and lodged in a fire truck,” Szabo said.

Szabo said for years Cleveland firefighters have been asking for bulletproof vests in case things turn violent, and now they are once again making the request due to the 2016 Republican National Convention being held in Cleveland.

“You’re in the national spotlight,” Szabo said.  “There is always a concern for safety and security.”

Councilman Matt Zone said he believes the city needs to look at purchasing the vests for firefighters.

“Whether it’s a car accident, an explosion, a terrorist act, they are there. They are putting themselves in harm's way; so those individuals that respond to these incidents need the best equipment possible and if that means bulletproof vests, than that’s something we need to consider,” Zone said.

The city released the following statement: “The Department of Public Safety is currently reviewing all options related to ballistic vests in order to determine appropriate actions.”

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