COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - When a police officer is called to the worst case scenario, having the right gear can make all the difference.
"It mentally prepares us and helps us do our jobs," said Fountain Police Chief Chris Heberer.
He and his department were one of the most recent recipients of gear from Shield 616, an organization that outfits police officers with an armor package that prepares them for an active shooter situation.
Heberer said, "I just want to thank them. They make a huge benefit to the financial stability of our first responders and their mental well-being."
The El Paso County Sheriff's office is another recipient. At market value, the packages can cost about $2,000 a piece, a price tag that is too high for most departments.
Sheriff Bill Elder said, "I don't know that we would have ever tried to undertake that task."
His more-than-250 deputies were equipped in 2018 and he says the capabilities of having this kind of gear is immeasurable.
"Some of the calls we go on with long rifles being utilized, there's just no protection on the market that's better than what we're getting with the opportunity of Shield 616."
The Colorado Springs Police Department was fully outfitted back in February of 2018, and just like every officer, they met the people who paid for their kits.
Police officer Lucas Aragon said, "This isn't cheap, these are nice stuff and somebody who doesn't even know me when out of their way to do that."
It's similar for deputies in Teller County. Sgt. Jake Markus says their new kits bring peace of mind in an uncertain situation.
"It also gives them comfort when to they go to different calls when they need to encounter those threats, where they need those heavy armors. It makes them feel safe," Sgt. Markus said.
There's no question for any one of these law enforcement leaders that their surrounding communities near and far, like Pueblo County and city, need the same protection.
KRDO is teaming up with Shield 616 in a telethon to raise money in hopes of gearing every deputy and officer in Pueblo to have the protection they need.
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