LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Could a thin piece of windshield protection have saved the life of a Kentucky State trooper?
The fallen officer's father says yes, and he has the support of some powerful lawmakers to make sure state police cruisers have it.
If House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) has his way, state police cars will get a new safety feature on the windshield designed to protect troopers from gunfire.
“We in the General Assembly stand ready to act in a positive manner to protect our law enforcement community, and to do justice where justice is due, that this life was not given in vain,” said Stumbo.
KSP Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder, was shot and killed through the windshield of his cruiser on Sept. 13 in Lyon County.
Stumbo wants Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer to investigate what it will take to install a bullet resistance laminate on the windshield of each state police cruiser.
“We're not endorsing any concept, we're not endorsing any product, we're just asking those who have this expertise, Commissioner Brewer and his staff, to give us some options that we can look at,” Stumbo said.
Joe Ponder, who buried his son just days ago, endorses the idea to honor all those who protect and defend.
“Please help us honor their lives, and those who follow in their path, by supporting this bill to equip police cruisers will bullet-prof windshields. A bullet-proof windshield would have saved my saved my son's life,” said Ponder.
The state police commissioner says he'll explore a number of options to improve trooper safety, noting that even Trooper Ponder's bullet proof vest was not enough to save him.
“It was a one in ten-thousand shot, quite frankly. It entered through the side panel of his bullet-proof vest,” said Brewer.
And Brewer says there are questions about the windshield laminate that must be answered.
“Can an officer fire from the inside of their vehicle out? We've had two shootings where we were forced to shoot perpetrators in the last few years, where the trooper or officer was inside the car and had to fire through the windshield” asked Brewer.
Stumbo wants recommendations from KSP before the 2016 session begins in January.
The laminate could cost up to $5,000 per car, some $3-million for all 600 cruisers.
“I don't believe that, no matter what the cost, that we can turn our backs on this issue,” said Stumbo.
Stumbo says any bill funding the improvements will be named after Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder.
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