The I-Team found a possible defect in safety equipment used by local law enforcement. Now, Tampa police have sent back dozens of protective shields after the company admits there could be a problem with them.
Tampa police spent more than $142,000 on ballistic shields from a California-based company. They're called Dead Stop Police Shields, the Equalizer models. Tampa police bought 119 of them, and they've sent all of them back after getting an email from LCOA Composites.
The company representative wants all of their shields manufactured after June of 2014 to be "removed from service immediately."
We spoke with TPD's Stephen Hegarty on how this may affect officer safety.
"It does not, and here's why," said Hegarty. "We have more than one kind of a shield. If something were to happen today or tonight, we have shields. Our SWAT team has shields that are much more powerful than the ones that we're talking about with the recall here."
For the past few weeks, we have tried reaching the company's operations director, Jeff Mason, by phone and email. We sent several emails and left several messages, but nobody from LCOA Composites had gotten back to us as of Tuesday afternoon.
St. Pete police previously purchased 45 of these types of Dead Stop Police Shields at $1,700 each, but they purchased theirs before the date of concern in the recall email. Spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez tells the I-Team they were never even notified of the problem.