Rio Grande Community helps to protect law enforcement officers

Photo by Rebecca Copley  Left to Right: Officers Dave Lanford, Triston Van Zalinge, Ryan Black, Tyler Dean and Robby Martinez, all stand behind their donated vests. 

On Monday, Nov. 4, a special event was held to give the Rio Grande County Sheriff’s deputies bullet proof vests. The vests where purchased by various community groups including the Rotary club, Kiwanis club, Jack’s Market Pharmacy, Calvary Baptist Church, and the Order of the Eastern Star.
Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church Bob Galey helped to spearhead the efforts and had this to say during the presentation of the vests, “In rural towns and counties, budgets are always a hot topic. With regards to our police department and sheriff’s department, there’s always equipment they wished they had but couldn’t afford. Statistically very few calls for law enforcement involve an active shooter with a rifle. Many law enforcement agencies cannot justify purchasing high powered rifle proof vest plates. It’s really hard to justify an extremely expensive piece of equipment that may not be used. But if you track events across our country it’s becoming more and more common.” Galey went on to explain how the community’s deputies drive lonely roads and encounter these dangers even in rural towns.
“And of course, there is that old saying that’s stood the test of time and is always found to be true. “It’s better to have equipment and not need it than to need it and not have it. So, helping our deputies return home safely to their families at the end of their shift should be all of our concern,” said Galey.
Not all bullet proof vests are created equal. The vests they were able to purchase for the deputies are Class 3A+. The + indicates that the vests stop higher velocity rounds than the Class 3A vests.
The vests are some of the most protective soft armor on the planet. Galey showed those gathered a video of the vests and how well they with stood shots from various firearms.
“There’s times when deputies get out there and it’s not if somethings going to happen it’s when,” said Rio Grande County Sheriff Donald McDonald. “I want all the deputies to be able to go home at the end of their shift. That’s very, very, important.” The Sheriff thanked all those who contributed for making these much needed vests possible. The event concluded with a blessing and a prayer for the officers.


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