The Shield616 program was started in 2015 with the goal of providing equipment and support to Colorado law enforcement. Since its inception, the organization has helped a number of communities obtain tactical equipment.
On January 18th leaders of the organisation presented 7 kevlar vests to the Rio Grande Sheriff’s department. They also gave them other tactical gear to help keep officers safe should there be an active shooter incident.
Kevlar Vests Essential to Safety
The program is dedicated to helping law enforcement agencies, particularly in rural communities. Donations made to the organisation helps these agencies afford the kevlar vests they need for their officers. The cost of each vest runs about $1400 to buy through Shield616.
Each kevlar vest comes with all the gear an officer in the field would need to stay safe. According to an official description of Shield616, the program was started to keep the street cop safe on the job.
The organizational goals are to provide essential safety equipment as well as support resources if and when an incident occurs. An officer who himself was in an active shooter incident in Colorado Springs in 2007 started the program.
It was then he realized that rural communities did not have the budget for this type of equipment. He then started soliciting donations and support so he could get them kevlar vests and the other gear they needed.
Vision of Shield616
The program’s vision is to rally everyone in the community together so that local law enforcement feels supported. They also sponsor individual officers who need kevlar vests for protection in active shooter situations.
The protective gear these officers mostly have is “soft armor,” which won’t protect from the types of gunfire used today. Shield616 helps provide the type of equipment these small agencies need to protect against higher velocity artillery.
Jake Skifstad organized the January 18th presentation, speaking to the crowd about how Shield616 was started. He told of how the organization seems to have brought the community and the Sheriff’s department together.
“You will see in a few minutes how these lifeless kevlar vests can change in just a few minutes,” he said.
He then asked the officers to come up to the front and to each stand behind a bullet proof vest. “Now you can see what each kevlar vest represents, which is something priceless. Each officer has a family and friends who worry about them putting themselves in mortal danger every day to keep everyone safe.”
The presentation and the entire evening became an emotional celebration representing friendship within the community. The sponsors gave hugs and shook hands with all seven officers receiving a kevlar vest and other essential gear.