In rural Teller County, law officers sometimes confront difficult situations, stemming from possible assailants, dangerous suspects, kidnappers and out-of-town felons.
And in many cases, officers put their lives on the line in dealing with suspects who are armed with reams of ammunition and guns and specialty- military-type weapons, especially in an area like Teller. In some instances, they only have seconds to react. Training for potential “active shooter” incidents has become more common among agencies in rural Colorado.
But a community-wide effort has generated a safety mechanism to ensure better officer safety and to improve overall law enforcement morale. At least now, many officers will be prepared for the worst.
Through a program orchestrated through the non-profit Shield 616 group, with the support of the Charis Bible College and a few other individuals, close to two dozen special state-of-the-art Shield protective kits have now arrived. They are being provided to the sheriff’s department, the Woodland Park Police Department and the Cripple Creek Police Department–free of charge.
These kits, with the full gear, were recently displayed last week at the Teller County Sheriff’s Office during a presentation, headed by the founder of Shield 616, Jake Skifstad. The typical kit includes such protective equipment as state-of-the –art bullet proof vests, body armor, gas masks, safety glasses, optic binoculars, gun-shot trauma devices, weapon pouches and more. They exemplify the Shield 616 advanced, protective gear offered to law enforcement agencies as a defense mechamism against the plethora of active shooter incidents across the country.
This law enforcement donation was recently announced during the First Responders banquet, held in late September, at the Charis Bible College and sponsored by Andrew Wommacks Ministries. Woodland Park Police Chief Miles De Young also lauded the donation and touted the First Responders gathering as a great event at a council meeting in early October. “It was a great event, I can’t say enough about it,” said De Young, when discussing the First Responders gathering and the announcement of the protective kit donation.
Besides the donated kits, Skifstad, said a local program is underway to get members of the community to sponsor certain law officers who receive the protective equipment. He said his group has received much support from Charis. Accordijng to the group’s website, this effort is aimed at providing a support group for that officer, “who will pray for that officer and family on a daily basis and shower that officer with support and encouragement throughout the year.”
According to Skifstad, this program is part of an effort to improve relations between the community and law officers. With the stigma of national media reports regarding certain police shootings across the country, he indicated the image of law enforcement agencies has taken an unfair beating.
“We want to give these officers as much support as we can,” said Skifstad.
According to Skifstad, each protective kit is valued at more than $1,000. To date, seven kits have been provided to both the sheriff’s department and to the WP Police Department and two have been furnished to the Cripple Creek Police Department. These were orchestrated through an arrangement between Shield 666 and the Charis. In addition, several more kits have been recently supplied to local law agencies, courtesy of private individuals.