FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 9, 2022) – Two Kentucky State Police (KSP) troopers who survived potentially life-threatening incidents due to wearing ballistic vests have been inducted into the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club.
Troopers Billy Ball and Michael Sanguigni were shot earlier this year while responding to two separate public safety emergencies during which their ballistic vests shielded them from the gunfire.
“Every day the commonwealth is grateful for the service of our law enforcement officers, and we are exceptionally thankful that Troopers Ball and Sanguigni survived and are here with us today,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Thank you, Troopers Ball and Sanguigni, for not only facing danger but for choosing to continue to serve every Kentuckian while building safer communities.”
According to IACP and the DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club, to be inducted, an officer must have survived a potentially life-threatening incident by wearing personal body armor. The types of incidents that qualify a candidate include firearm assaults and attacks with knives, clubs, chains and other weapons. It also includes motor vehicle collisions, fires and explosions.
“Troopers Ball and Sanguigni experienced the unthinkable. Their ballistic vests protected them from gunfire, allowing them to survive these critical incidents,” said KSP Commissioner Col. Phillip Burnett Jr. “We are thankful that both made it home to their families and continue to serve with our agency.”
In June 2022, Trooper Ball responded to an incident in Allen, Kentucky, regarding an active shooter. Shortly after Trooper Ball arrived on scene, he tried to locate the shooter and was struck in his right shoulder. He was wearing his ballistic vest during the incident and was able to make a full recovery. Trooper Ball is a three-year veteran of KSP and is assigned to Post 9 in Pikeville.
In January 2022, Trooper Sanguigni conducted a traffic stop in Cynthiana, Kentucky. During the stop, the suspect discharged a weapon that struck Sanguigni multiple times. Sanguigni’s ballistic vest shielded him from three gunshots, though a fourth gunshot perforated his left shoulder. Following the incident, he was treated for his injuries and has since returned to service. Trooper Sanguigni is a three-year veteran of KSP and is assigned to Post 6 Dry Ridge.
Trooper Ball stated, “It’s an honor to be recognized and inducted into the DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club. I am thankful for the protective ballistic vests that our agency provided to keep me safe.”
Trooper Sanguigni stated, “It is an honor to receive the DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club award. I am extremely thankful for having and wearing a Point Blank ballistic vest, it has allowed me to go home and provide this sincere thanks.”
The mission of KSP is to promote public safety through service, integrity and professionalism using partnerships to prevent, reduce and deter crime and the fear of crime, enhance highway safety through education and enforcement, safeguard property and protect individual rights.
The Beshear-Coleman administration’s top priority is the safety of all those in the commonwealth. Through partnerships across state government, including the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the public safety actions already taken by the Governor to fight the ongoing drug epidemic and create safer communities are bettering Kentucky now and for future generations.
The current state budget signed by Gov. Beshear allows the commonwealth to take additional steps forward to make Kentucky a leader in public safety by enhancing law enforcement training, creating safer communities and improving the safety of both law enforcement officers and Kentuckians. In July, the Governor announced additional steps to enhance public and officer safety, including funding for firearms training, a Western Kentucky training facility and an increased training stipend for officers.
Since taking office, Gov. Beshear has awarded almost $8 million in grant funding to assist state and local law enforcement agencies to purchase the tools and resources needed to not only protect our communities but also to ensure the safety of law enforcement as they work on the front lines each and every day. Recently, the administration announced nearly $2 million in grant funding to enhance public safety, curb the sale of illegal drugs and fight addiction.
In June, Gov. Beshear announced the Military to Law Enforcement Program (M-2-LE). M-2-LE allows local law enforcement agencies in Kentucky to hire active service members within all branches of the U.S. military during their last 180 days of service. Upon being contracted by a law enforcement agency, the military member will continue to receive their pay and benefits from the U.S. military while they undergo law enforcement training at DOCJT.
In April, the Governor signed into law two pieces of legislation recently passed by the General Assembly to make historic investments in law enforcement by providing funds to KSP to recruit, train and retain the essential workforce needed to continue to provide the highest level of security to all Kentuckians. House Bill 259 ensures that all troopers will receive a $15,000 raise. Additionally, KSP’s starting pay for sworn officers will increase from $37,887 to $55,888 annually. By signing Senate Bill 209, Gov. Beshear established paid vacation, sick leave and holiday pay, as well as enhanced health insurance contribution payments, for retired KSP troopers and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers.
Also, the Governor recommended in January 2022 that $12.2 million be included in the state budget for KSP to purchase body cameras, which is the first time in the commonwealth’s history that funding has been allocated for this much-needed expense.
Gov. Beshear has championed legislative action like Senate Bill 64 and House Bill 254 that make it easier for law enforcement to conduct undercover sting operations and increase the chances of stopping a horrific crime against a child from being facilitated through the internet. These actions will also provide law enforcement officers with the authority to charge offenders with harsher crimes to keep them away from the public, preventing further interactions with Kentucky’s most vulnerable population.
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