Local enforcement receive safety gear
Several local law enforcement agencies have been recipients of vest packages in recent years through the combined efforts of local sponsors and SHIELD616.
The sponsors raise money and partner with SHIELD616 to purchase the vest package.
According to the SHIELD616 website: "We feel the atmosphere within the law enforcement community has changed due to the numerous events occurring around the country that shed only a negative light on law enforcement. We are sensing that not only are officers more open and receptive to encouragement and prayer, they are in desperate need of it."
The packages include a vest with pouches to hold two 8-pound rifle-rated plates, a trauma kit, ballistic glasses and helmet as well as a monocular for the $1,200 to $1,400 each.
The new vests are superior to the standard soft vests, which protect against pistols, provided by most law enforcement agencies. The Shield616 vests can go over the soft vests to protect against bullets fired from rifles.
The Carlton Area Lions Club donated a vest package for the first time. According to Lions member Mike Orlowski, several people in the organization had heard about the vests and wanted to help protect local law enforcement. They chose to donate the $1,200 vest package to the Carlton County Sheriff's Department.
To date, the Sheriff's Department has received 18 vest packages. There are a total of 22 deputies in the Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff Kelly Lake would like to see each one of them receive a vest package.
The undercover investigators have not received vests yet, nor has the sheriff, who said she will wait until everyone else is covered.
"I am hoping to get more donations so all law enforcement is covered," Lake said.
Moose Lake and Cloquet police departments also received packages July 5. Moose Lake Police Department Sgt. Mike McNulty received a vest package that was donated by the Moose Lake Kiwanis Club. They need four more vest packages to cover everyone in the department.
CPD received one vest package this year. An unnamed juvenile was very impressed with how Officer Adam Reed had responded to a call that she had been involved in. She wanted to help, so she donated her own money to purchase Reed an Angel vest package.
The Angel vests weigh less than the standard vests and cost $200 more, according to Commander Carey Ferrell. The department now has two out of 24 in the department covered.
The vests are for use in higher risk situations, such as an active shooter.
Organizations and churches can fundraise to raise donations for the packages. For more information, visit SHIELD616.org.