PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Time and time again, we see officers put their lives on the line and now there’s a new way to protect them.
No one can forget the images of when Officer Jessie Hartnett was ambushed by a gunman while inside his police car on Jan. 7, 2016. He still suffers from the limited use of his arm.
Now, Philadelphia police have been provided with a blanket of extra security surrounding 150 police vehicles, all equipped with impenetrable ballistic armor.
Hardwire LLC, an armor manufacturing company in Pokomoke, Maryland, outfitted the cars with the technology they’ve created.
A test video shows the effectiveness of the armored doors and window inserts. Shot, after shot, from handguns to shotguns, AR-15s and AK-47 assault rifles — not one bullet penetrates the door or the window.
“This is identical to what’s in the Philadelphia police cars,” said George Tunis, CEO of Hardwire.
Tunis, a Wilmington native and engineer, saw the video of Officer Hartnett’s shooting and knew he could make a difference.
“The material that we make here, it absorbs like a giant spider web. It’s like a punching bag, it just keeps sucking in the rounds,” said Tunis.
CBS3 toured the sprawling 100,000-square-foot armor facility getting a behind the scenes look.
Hardwire didn’t start out making armor for police cars. Their mission after 9-11 and during the war in Iraq began with protecting our troops from improvised explosive devices.
The Hardwire technology started with protective armor that the company created to be used on military Humvees. They’ve now expanded it to a much more streamlined version that you’ll now see on Philadelphia police cars.
“You take that technology and scale it down to the threats that we might see here in the U.S., whether it’s in a school or a bar or what a police officer might commonly see in the streets,” said Tunis.
The company has gone as far as adding armor to whiteboards found in schools and armor that looks like signs hanging in bars.
“To improve the survivability of human beings, that’s it,” said Tunis.