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January 27, 2016

Body armor purchase for MEMS personnel fast-tracked after FF shooting

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services plans to buy body armor for all of its personnel after last week’s fatal shooting of a volunteer firefighter who was responding to a medical call.

The proposal has been discussed internally for weeks and received strong support at a meeting Tuesday, Arkansas Online reported.

Jon Swanson, MEMS Executive Director, said he will ask the Ambulance Authority to approve the purchase by Feb. 23.

Buying new body armor for the agency’s 220 uniformed personnel will cost about $150,000.

MEMS crews haven’t worn body armor since the 1990s, when gang violence in the city was at its peak.

"It’s not a knee-jerk reaction in any sense, but the timeline is accelerated, just simply in acknowledgement of the tragedy that happened," Swanson said.

Jason Adams, 29, was shot and killed by a patient after entering his home. Mark Eugene Pruitt, who was arrested for manslaughter, told police he thought Adams was an intruder. Adams was the first on scene and wasn’t wearing a uniform.