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With workplace and school violence on the rise, the New Holland Police Department added something new to its tactical toolbox — the Baker Batshield.

The lightweight, high-tech, portable shield provides police officers with more protection in high-risk situations involving armed suspects.

“We need every tool available to protect victims and officers. The new shield increases that protection,” said New Holland police Detective Jonathan Heisse.

Heisse made it a priority to secure financial support to purchase four shields because officers face a more hostile environment than a decade ago.

State grant money arranged through state Sen. Mike Brubaker and contributions from two New Holland businesses — CNH and Tyson Foods Inc. — funded the purchase of four of the PatrolBat model shields for $1,500 each.

Two shields were purchased with grant funds awarded in May through the state Department of Community and Economic Development. The local businesses picked up the tab for the two additional shields.

Wayne Martenas, CNH vice president of facilities and security, said health and safety is a major component of the company, and every effort is made to protect the employees.

“It’s important to have our police department protected, too,” he said. Todd Shultz, Tyson Foods Inc.’s complex human relations manager, agreed. “We are constantly working to improve our security measures, and as a major employer in the community, want to support the police department in their efforts,” he said.

Officer John Yanarella expressed appreciation for the shields, which, at 13.5-pounds each, are easier to deploy than the cumbersome, heavy-weight older shields. “The new shields are valuable assets that we hope we never have to use,” Heisse said.

Source: Carole Deck for Lancaster Online.

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