$31K raised to get Mason Co. deputies stronger body armor

Michigan

LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) — A nonprofit dedicated to providing police with state-of-the-art body armor helped a Michigan community raise $31,250 to outfit two departments with extra protection.

Shield 616 — named for a Bible verse and not the area code — recently presented 23 sets of “rifle-rated” front and back plates to the Mason County Sheriff’s Department and Scottville police.

The lightweight body armor, created by Colorado-based Angel Armor, provides protection beyond the bulletproof vests officers already wear.

“We came up with an armor package that gives officers a rifle plate, a very lightweight rifle plate to up armor so your loved one, your department, or whoever you donate for, has that added protection against the high-powered rifles being used today,” Randy Kieft, the Michigan protection specialist for Angel Armor, explained.

“Most departments traditionally provide what’s call an active shooter kit in the trunk of their car. Angel Armor believes that having armor in your trunk is a useless concept in that officers should be wearing the armor their entire shift all day long… We want to provide that armor 24/7 all day long (so they’ll) never have to go to their trunks for armor ever again,” Kieft continued.

Scottville police also received vests into which the plates are inserted.

“This is an external load bearing carrier so it helps take the weight off the hips of the officer,” Kieft demonstrated. “These plates can stop multi-hit .308, all your .223 or AR-15 rounds, all your AK-47 rounds…”

With a price tag of $1,600 per officer, Kieft said most departments don’t have the financial resources to purchase the higher-grade body armor package. Shield 616 helps coordinate fundraising efforts through which businesses, residents and community groups can donate to buy equipment for a particular department or officer.

“An individual or business can sponsor an officer or department though Shield 616,” Kieft explained.

The Mason County Sheriff’s Department began seeking donations to cover the cost of the gear in 2018. Scottville later joined in the fundraising effort.

“Private citizens and businesses ‘adopted’ officers and deputies by purchasing twenty three sets of plates,” said Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole in a news release.

The news release from the Mason County Sheriff’s Department identified several contributors to the campaign, including Rick Chapman, owner of Chuck Wagon Pizza, Dr. William Anderson and resident Vic Burwell.

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