Crime will pay for the purchase of 18 sets of armor for Gahanna's SWAT officers.

Crime will pay for the purchase of 18 sets of armor for Gahanna's SWAT officers.

Police Lt. Jeff Spence last week told council committee members that funds from the Federal Law Enforcement Trust Fund (FLETF) would cover $45,000 for the purchase of Survival-brand tactical armor, ballistic plates and attachments from Roy Tailor's Uniform Co. in Columbus.

"Any seized assets, such as cash or motor vehicles linked to a criminal enterprise, the money is turned around to participating agencies," he said. "The monies are from the fruits of crimes. There are (strict guidelines) that we have to meet requirements for expending the funds. We have been able to do things for the department at no cost to the taxpayer."

The Gahanna Division of Police requested that council pass legislation to authorize the expenditure of $45,000 from the balance of the FLETF for the purchase of the armor.

Proceeds from FLETF commonly are referred to as shared funds, and they're generated from court cases at the federal level in which seized cash, real property and other assets are remanded to the law-enforcement agency or agencies that were responsible for the investigations and subsequent prosecution of the defendants in criminal cases, Spence said. "Sometimes cases take three to four years to resolve, so we can't bank on a seizure," he said.

Spence said the department's original armor was purchased via FLETF funds in late 2006.

That armor is heavier and bulkier, restricting the movement of officers who wear it, Spence said.

The old armor will be re-tasked to the division's marked fleet to provide patrol officers with supplemental armor in emergency situations, he said.

The armor eventually breaks down from wear and sweat, Spence said.

"Once it's expired, we destroy it," he said. "The fiber breaks down, and we incinerate it. We're very studious about our control of inventory."

Council member Brandon Wright asked how often Gahanna's SWAT team is used.

According to police Chief Dennis Murphy, the SWAT team helped the Secret Service during Vice President Joe Biden's recent visit to Gahanna Lincoln High School.

"We do covert services around shopping centers," he said. "We're doing less drug raids but more surveillance."

Murphy said SWAT also works with the U.S. Marshals Service task force and local drug-enforcement agencies.