The Oconee County Sheriff's Office and county council are looking into ballistic windshield pricing, after a deputy was shot through his windshield.  -  Photo: Oconee County Sheriff's Office/Canva/Government Fleet

The Oconee County Sheriff's Office and county council are looking into ballistic windshield pricing, after a deputy was shot through his windshield.

Photo: Oconee County Sheriff's Office/Canva/Government Fleet

Ballistic glass may be on the way to vehicles for the Oconee County, South Carolina, Sheriff's Office, after a deputy was shot through the windshield of his patrol vehicle.

In its Nov. 21 meeting, the Oconee County Council approved a motion directing county staff to coordinate with the Sheriff's Office to obtain pricing for ballistic upgrades for deputy vehicles.

27-year-old Cpl. Lucas Watts is recovering after being shot in his patrol vehicle.  -  Photo: Oconee County Sheriff's Office

27-year-old Cpl. Lucas Watts is recovering after being shot in his patrol vehicle.

Photo: Oconee County Sheriff's Office

The motion came after Sheriff Mike Crenshaw spoke during public comment at the meeting and Councilman Matthew Durham requested the motion, discussing various ballistic offerings for law enforcement vehicles.

Crenshaw supported the motion, asking for pricing breakdowns on ballistic windshields and glass for other windows on the patrol vehicles.

A week prior, on Nov. 16, deputies were conducting a traffic stop when the driver who was pulled over sped away, leading deputies on a pursuit. It ended when the driver reportedly fired shots at 27-year-old Cpl. Lucas Watts, who was in his patrol vehicle.

Watts, who was hit, was taken to the hospital. He was critically injured, but it now recovering, according to a press release.

At the Nov. 21 meeting, Crenshaw revealed that a second patrol vehicle also sustained bullet holes, missing another deputy by a few inches.

A Primer on Ballistic Glass

Armoring law enforcement vehicles is still a fairly new practice for the industry. Many agencies do not have ballistic panels or glass on their vehicles. Previously, the technology was expensive. As it has evolved, it has become more cost effective for agencies.

Patrol vehicle window armor is usually made of polycarbonate or layered glass, Police Magazine reported in 2019.

In 2021, the number of intentional killings of law enforcement officers reached a 20-year high with 73 deaths, according to the FBI. The 2022 numbers were slightly down, with 60 intentional deaths.

With an increase in the number of felonious deaths against law enforcement officers — fatal injuries as a direct result of an intentional act — many agencies are considering adding additional protections like ballistic technologies to their vehicles.

Ballistic glass is a common choice for agencies looking to protect their officers, because windshields and other vehicle glass can be a major vulnerability for law enforcement vehicles.

About the author
Christy Grimes

Christy Grimes

Senior Editor

Christy Grimes is a Senior Editor at Bobit, working on Automotive Fleet and Government Fleet publications. She has also written for School Bus Fleet.

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