ELWOOD, Ind. — The Elwood Police Department is upgrading its police cruisers to try and prevent a tragedy like the one they experienced last year when officer Noah Shahnavaz was shot to death while conducting a traffic stop. 

Officer Shanavaz didn’t stand a chance when investigators say Carl Boards II shot at him 36 times. Responding officers found Shahnavaz sitting in his vehicle with his gun still in his holster. 

He had no time to react. 

“Noah was always looking to help others,” Officer Keegan Russell said. “If we can do anything for him, to honor him, it is to better develop ourselves, our safety and better serve the community.”

That is why the police department is outfitting all of its patrol vehicles with bulletproof windshields. They’re about four times as thick as a standard car windshield.

Elwood Police witnessed a test of it’s strength first-hand.

“They fired multiple rounds which included a 9 mm, 40 caliber, 45 caliber and 357 magnum,” Chief Jason Brizendine said. “None of them, there was approximately 20 rounds shot total, not one of them penetrated.”

Brizendine also purchased a handheld ballistic shield for every officer that they can quickly grab during a hostile situation. 

The windshield’s cost the city $2,300 each to purchase and install them in its 16 patrol vehicles. The 19 shields cost $600 each.

“We’re really trying to be focused on the future and any safety that we can give to our officers we’re going to do it,” Brizendine said.

Both new layers of added protection are designed to give officers time to react, something officer Shahnavaz didn’t have. 

“That extra time is a huge confidence boost as far as being in that seat and not feeling as vulnerable,” Russell said.

Chief Brizendine said he hopes these upgrades also give the officer’s families a little more peace of mind. 

He hates to think what happened to officer Shahnavaz could happen again and he hopes these measures will ensure it never does. 

“It is a sad state, but unfortunately we have to be realistic about everything that’s going on,” Brizendine said. “That’s why we’re taking all these measures to hopefully prevent anything like this from ever happening again.”

The chief said all the windshield installations should be completed next week.

Boards’ trial is expected to take place sometime in 2024 and the Madison County Prosecutor is seeking the death penalty.