The McCracken County Fiscal Court on Monday approved two resolutions seeking grants to provide the sheriff's department with body protection.

Both grants would go through the Kentucky Office of Home Security. The resolutions authorized Judge-Executive Bob Leeper to represent the county in those grant agreements.

The first application will be for body armor. The second will seek funding for active shooter kits, armor and helmets.

Chief Deputy Mike Turnbow spoke on behalf of the McCracken County Sheriff's Department.

"We should be able to get $665 per vest that needs to be replaced," he told the fiscal court about the body armor application. "I talked to the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. There is approximately $16,000 that's available to us to offset the purchase. Most body armor now sells for roughly $900 for a vest.

"So the sheriff's department, we will be responsible for some of that, and I believe that we can use our (drug seizure fund) to take care of the remainder of the money needed to purchase the body armor."

He added that 80 percent of the department needed to have body armor replaced.

Turnbow said that the active shooter kits include armor worn externally that would stop a rifle shot.

He said there are two different types of armor: one for pro units that is made of steel and one for tactical teams that is wider.

"You can drop it, bang it, whatever. It does not need to be replaced," he said. "The downside is it's heavy. Each plate weighs roughly 14 pounds, so 28 pounds for a front and back plate, but hopefully, it's not going to be used that often. It will be for a situation where someone is armed with a rifle - whether it be an active shooter or whether it be shots fired at a residence."

Turnbow said the wider armor for tactical teams does expire and the grant the department received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2013 for this armor would expire this October.

He said that, including training, the total would be $60,000, and the county does not have to provide a matching total for this grant.

Turnbow said that there is a movement for all law enforcement bodies nationwide to have active shooter kits.

The fiscal court also heard an update from Jim Askins on the Kentucky Wired Project, which will install a fiberoptic cable infrastructure statewide to provide broadband internet access to all 120 counties.

"The project is the largest P3 telecom project in the country." he said, referring to the company P3's telecommunications subsidiary. "The project is going to install about 3,400 miles of fiberoptic cable."

He added that Senate Bill 200 in the last legislative session provided $110 million for the project.

• Leeper mentioned that he received an email Monday from Ballard Judge-Executive Todd Cooper that said that his office had been approached by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet about extending the U.S. 60 four-lane highway into Ballard County from McCracken County through the Build America program.

Leeper said the Ballard office would be a conduit for the application for a grant.

"It is requiring some local community match," Leeper told the court. "He is asking us to commit some; he suggested $250,000. He is going to approach southeast Missouri and southern Illinois. It's roughly a $25 million project."

After the meeting, Leeper said he would speak with Cooper and the Transportation Cabinet as early as today to get more details about the project.

"Anything that can improve access to McCracken County and into Ballard County is going to benefit both of us," he said. "We look forward to being a partner with Ballard County and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet."

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