By Kristin Rover
Police officers with the Owensville Police Department will have more protection thanks to a generous donation from Moose International, the National Sheriff’s Organization and Safe Surfin’ Foundation, a law enforcement organization that works to improve public safety.
Members of the organizations presented 16 new ballistic vests to police officers Aug. 1 at the Owensville Municipal Building as part of a program to help protect police officers.
Bedford County, Va. Sheriff Mike Brown, who also serves on the board of the National Sheriff’s Association, presented the vests and talked about the collaborative effort that made the donation possible.
Brown said he conceived the program about a year ago.
Brown said according to a 2009-2010 study, more than 2,300 officers were without access to ballistic vests at their police departments.
“When I did research to how many departments didn’t have vests I was floored,” Brown said. “To have officers on the street without vests I think is criminal.”
He said he began working with Safe Surfin’ Foundation to raise funds to donate ballistic vests to officers in communities that cannot afford them.
“What we will be doing is donating ballistic vests at no cost,” Brown said.
He said this is the first presentation of vests to a community, and Safe Surfin’ Foundation will continue to donate vests as they can to communities that need the protection.
“We would not be able to make life saving gifts without assistance,” Brown said.
Brown said Moose International, an organization that works to bring communities closer together through the work of its members, donated funds to Safe Surfin’ Foundation to help purchase vests for police departments.
He said the National Sheriff’s Organization is also a partner in the program and provides funds.
“We are delighted to be able to do this,” Brown said about making the donation.
Owensville Police Chief Mike Freeman thanked the organizations for the donation.
“I couldn’t be more honored to have these guys here,” Freeman said.
Freeman said it means a lot to him to know his police officers have more protection when they are out in the field.
“I will feel safe at night sleeping knowing that they are safer,” Freeman said.
Safe Surfin’ Foundation also helps protect children from online predators through education.
For more information about Safe Surfin’ Foundation or the program visit www.safesurfin.org.