WALKER, LA (WAFB) - The Walker Police Department recently received a donation of ten bullet-resistant vests from the Capital Area Law Enforcement Foundation.
"We are very grateful for the generosity of the Capital Area Law Enforcement Foundation. The foundation's efforts to promote officer safety through the donation of this technologically advanced body armor are deeply appreciated," said Walker Police Chief David Addison.
The Capital Area Law Enforcement Foundation is a charitable organization that was founded by former BRPD Chief Pat Englade in 2016 after the shooting deaths of Officers Matthew Gerald and Montrell Jackson and Deputy Brad Garafola. Captain John Sharp, spokesperson for the Walker Police Department, says while officers are currently equipped with body armor, the vests have an expiration date and need to be replaced. Also, the new vests are much lighter than the old ones. Officers say the decreased weight of the vests is invaluable during the hot, humid summer months.
"On top of all the equipment we wear, to have this layer of protection on, it can be miserable at times," said Sharp. "These new vests are much more temperature friendly. They allow, they wick some moisture away from the body and allows the officer to stay cooler."
"These vests could not have come at a better time. The donation allows us to retire some vests that have been in use for a long time and replace them with new lighter weight, more comfortable vests that provide better protection," said Sharp.
"The purpose of the foundation is to provide protective equipment for the men and women in law enforcement who daily put their lives on the line to make our communities safe. Law enforcement is inherently dangerous work and the foundation is proud to partner with the Walker Police Department to help ensure their officers have up to date protective equipment," said Joseph Booth, member of the board of directors for the Capital Area Law Enforcement Foundation.
"We learned a horrible lesson July 17 of last year," Englade said. "That we had officers out there on the streets of Baton Rouge that were not equipped to deal with the sort of situation that we had that day. So we responded and hopefully at the end of this year, we will put a thousand vests on police officers. We hope to raise almost a million dollars this year." Englade says he eventually wants to expand his operation serve the entire state of Louisiana, and possibly other states as well.
Anyone interested in donating to the Capital Area Law Enforcement Foundation can do so on their website.