Colorado Department of Public Safety staff load surplus body armor for donation to Ukraine (Photo Courtesy of CDPS)
Colorado has collected almost 1,300 ballistic helmets and almost 1,300 complete sets of surplus body armor from local law enforcement agencies to send to Ukraine.
“We are doing everything we can to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom, and this surplus body armor is urgently needed to help save lives, stop Putin’s ruthless aggression, and save Ukraine,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement Monday.
The donations come less than a week after Polis announced that his administration — through the Colorado Department of Public Safety and the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs — asked local law enforcement agencies to donate excess equipment to be sent to Ukraine.
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The equipment was donated from over 25 local law enforcement agencies, according to the Monday statement. There were over 240 law enforcement agencies in the state as of 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Donations were accepted from law enforcement agencies and not from the general public to ensure that all equipment meets safety standards.
The Colorado Department of Public Safety was the largest single donor of equipment as of Monday, according to department spokeswoman Patricia Billinger. The department donated more than 750 helmets and 83 sets of body armor. Colorado Springs, which donated eight helmets and 194 sets of body armor, was the next largest donor, Billinger said.
“The Ukrainian people are fighting for the survival of their sovereign nation,” Polis wrote in a letter to law enforcement agencies. “We have an opportunity to help save lives in this battle for democracy.”
Not just Colorado
Other states are also donating equipment to help Ukrainians fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The West Virginia National Guard and the Department of Homeland Security are collecting unused or recently expired ballistic vests from the state’s law enforcement agencies, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced last week.
The governor of Ohio and the Ohio National Guard asked law enforcement agencies in the state to take inventory of their personal protective gear, to see if the agencies have any surplus equipment that could be donated to Ukraine, Cleveland 19 News reported Monday.
In New York, the Nassau County executive asked legal gun owners to donate firearms, according to CBS News. The sheriff in Suffolk County, New York, donated about 450 pieces of body armor to the Long Island Ukraine Emergency Response Drive, according to the Long Island Press.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced last week that the state will be collecting used or recently expired body armor vests from law enforcement agencies and members of the public until March 23.
Donations were accepted at armories across the state, including in Colorado Springs, Denver and Grand Junction. Media was not allowed to film or take pictures at the armories.
Editor’s note: This story and headline were updated at 10:48 a.m., March 16, 2022, to reflect new donation figures and information from the Colorado Department of Public Safety.
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