The Henry County Police Department is getting an armored vehicle and the ability to see in the dark as a result of last month’s deadly shooting of a pregnant mother and her son in the Eagle Ridge subdivision.
The Henry Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved taking more than $383,000 from the county fund balance to pay for a BearCat armored vehicle, 10 night vision googles and 30 protective helmets to use in future emergencies.
Police said having the equipment could have been helpful in the 16-hour April 4 standoff with Anthony Bailey, who is accused of shooting and killing his pregnant girlfriend, Sandra Renee White, and her son Arkeyvion before turning the gun on himself.
Bailey also is accused of shooting two Henry County officers -- Taylor Webb and Keegan Merritt -- both of whom were treated and released from hospitals. Webb was shot in the chest and hip while Merritt was shot in the hand.
“It’s sad that we actually have to have an armored vehicle, but as the world changes we need to be prepared to mitigate instances and save lives,” Assistant County Manager Brad Johnson told commissioners.
Police from several public safety departments around the south metro area helped Henry officers in the standoff, which began around 9 a.m. and ended about 3 a.m. the next day. Officers from Clayton County, Butts County, the city of Jonesboro and Henry County Sheriff’s Department responded to calls for back up.
“Clayton County’s BearCat got shot somewhere between six and eight times,” Henry Police Chief Mark Amerman told the commission. “We used Butts County’s armored vehicle to transport people and equipment so it wouldn’t be in the kill zone.
“It’s unfortunate we had to wait for this kind of incident to happen, but the county is in desperate need of having an armored vehicle for the safety of its officers, its SWAT team and the citizens of Henry County,” Amerman said.
In addition to adding the armored vehicle and goggles, Henry Police is getting new gas launchers and medical kits that will come out of the department’s budget, Amerman said.
Henry Commission Chairwoman June Wood said she was happy to see the police department’s effort to improve its response and sent her condolences to the family of the victims.
“Let’s continue to think forward as our community continues to grow,” she said. “I’m glad to see this.”
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