Knoxville — Pending the ratification of a hold harmless agreement by the Marion County Board of Supervisors on Monday, the County Attorney's Office will accept a donation of used bulletproof vests from the Pella Police Department.
The City of Pella recently received a grant for new vests for its department. Vests that will be given to the County Attorney's Office have been in storage for some time, but have not aged beyond usefulness. Pella Police Chief Robert Bokinsky was approached by the prosecutors about using these vests when taking part in police "ride-along" events and search warrant executions.
Bokinsky indicated that the Pella City Council passed a resolution to give the office the vests, as long as a hold harmless agreement between the City and Marion County was approved that absolved Pella of any liability if someone is injured while wearing one of them.
Marion County Attorney Ed Bull said that every attorney in his office has taken part in a "ride-along." Bull said he has done multiple, including rides with police in Knoxville, Pleasantville, Pella and the Iowa State Patrol. The attorneys go out on warrants on a regular basis as well.
Part of the reason the attorneys go out on search warrant executions is to be prepared if something is noticed that may require an additional warrant. The attorneys can create the documentation to request a warrant on scene, have it printed and get a judge's signature without losing any investigation time.
Bull does not believe the prosecutor's presence at a crime scene creates a conflict of interest. He said he visits every crime scene before he goes in front of a jury. The physical visit to the site allows him to describe the sights, sounds and smells of a scene in a way that photographs cannot.
As for the safety of the attorneys, Bull said that officers do a great job of offering protection. He hopes the office never has to face a truly dangerous situation while working with law enforcement.
Bokinsky said his department has a great relationship with the County Attorney's Office.