DENVER, Co. – There are times were doing the right thing may be hard. Then there are times where it’s a ‘no-brainer.’
An anonymous person just donated an astonishing $112,000 for rifle-rated protective gear kits that were given to the Denver Police Department to outfit 75 of their officers.
In a ceremony organized by Shield 616, 101 Denver officers were given free protective gear to keep them safe on duty. The group is a Colorado-based charitable organization that provides high-tech gear like Angel Armor to officers around the country. The gear is typically valued at $1500 per officer.
The timing of the donated protective ceramic ballistic plates, vests and other gear is not lost on Denver’s police chief.
“This is a very special day, the fact that 101 Shield 616 kits (are) going to our officers, particularly after a rough month. We’ve had three separate incidents where people have fired upon our officers,” Chief Paul Pazen told FOX31.
Being that men and women in law enforcement typically run towards the danger, this gear will offer an added layer of protection. Many police departments supply bullet-resistant vests and other gear to their officers, but rifle-rated gear is often too cost-prohibitive.
“And the fact that the community is willing to support (Denver police) by providing this extra gear — this extra equipment, the latest and greatest equipment to keep them safe — really helps our officers when they go out there and do this very dangerous job,” Pazen said.
To date, Shield 616 has donated more than 3,500 sets of gear to officers in 14 states.
This is not the first time we have seen outside organizations step up to assist in gearing up an agency.
You don’t have to be a fan of NASCAR to know that NASCAR is synonymous with deep patriotism and love and support for our military and emergency responder communities.
So, it should come as no surprise that one of the cars is doing what it can to help support a small police department in Michigan.
The Denver Police Department thanks Shield 616 for the generous donations of 55 ballistic helmets, plate carrier vests and trauma kits. This protective gear will help keep our officers safe. pic.twitter.com/8n8K0llhMG
— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) October 30, 2018
Napoleon Township, located about 80 miles West of Detroit, has a population of 6,962. They are policed by a department comprised of ten officers (3 full-time, 7 part-time and 6 reserve officers). They have also typically operated from the general township budget, which can cause budgetary constraints where technology upgrades are concerned.
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The annual budget is $292,000, which makes it difficult to afford the replacements for the nine-year-old in-car systems and the broken body cam units. The chief told Law Enforcement Today that they typically only have a few officers on duty at any given time, so they would like to have three body cameras, two for the officers on duty and one back-up unit.
During a trip to the Daytona 500, Chief Pittman was connected to Superior-Essex, one of the leading structured cabling manufacturers in the US. Superior-Essex is a sponsor for the Starcom Racing Chevrolet 00 driven by Landon Cassill. During the 500, the driver, the team and Superior-Essex began discussing the cost of body cameras. And that is when they began to formulate the idea. “They just said, this is something we want to be involved in. I didn’t ask them for anything, they are just really great people,” Chief Pittman said.
Chief Pittman also mentioned that they have applied for grants to help with these purchases only to find that the department did not qualify for most grant funding.
The group set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to offset the costs of the equipment the department needs. The car displayed the GoFundMe link on the back of the car during the races at the Michigan International Speedway. Between that link and other donations, the goal of $15,000 was reached. The department is now preparing to purchase three body cameras, 2 in-car systems and a cloud-based uploading solution.
The driver, Landon Cassill says he was more than happy to support this effort.
“It’s really cool, it means a lot. I mean, just knowing how small the department is and they have a limited budget you know but they still have a job to do, they still have to keep their local community safe, no matter how big or small,” he said.
Chief Pittman was presented a check for the full $15,000 after the race at MIS on June 9.