52 more CSPD officers to get active shooter gear through local non-profit

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A local non-profit is making sure the men and women who protect us, are protected.

Monday night, 52 more officers with the Colorado Springs Police Department will get new active shooter gear.

CSPD officers already have protective gear for active shooter situations but this gear -- what they call an armor package -- is a step above that.

The set that's donated through Shield 616 includes a ballistic helmet that's shaped different to be more protective and lighter. Also, a ballistics vest "designed for a street cop."

"It makes a big difference on having that protection being able to move in to secure and establish your perimeters," said Lt. Howard Black with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Black tells 11 News active shooters situations are "rare" but you'll remember the Planned Parenthood shooting in November 2015 where three people were killed. One of those people: UCCS police Officer Garrett Swasey.

A month before that, another active shooter in downtown Colorado Springs on Halloween. Three people also died in that shooting before the gunman was killed by police.

Beyond that, Colorado Springs is no stranger to shootings.

"What isn't rare is having a situation where shots are fired. Or we're going into an environment where weapons have been displayed. That is more of a common practice," said Black.

11 News talked with the founder of Shield 616, Officer Jake Skifstad when they donated to the UCCS police force back in September.

“A lot of times, they’re using these rifles that these officers, the street officers, the true first responders that will be there before the SWAT team -- they don’t have any protection against them. Their vest won’t stop them," he said.

Shield 616 is able to donate this gear through community donations and sponsorships.

Skifstad tells 11 News they hope when people sponsor a cop it can eventually improve community relationships with law enforcement.

"With all the hostility that has been directed at law enforcement,
increased ambushes, high-profile active shooter incidents here and
around the country, we wanted to start building new healthy
relationships between local citizens and their local law enforcement," Skifstad said.

Skifstad says the idea of the sponsors is for them to get to know their officer and form a relationship.

Each set retails for more than $2,000, but Shield 616 says it only costs each sponsor about $1,000. Still, CSPD says it's money that's not within their budget, so without these donations, they would not be able to afford the gear.

“For us to be able to help them go home and go home to their families ... that’s priceless," said Skifstad.

After Monday's ceremony at Police Headquarters, 325 CSPD officers will have the new gear.

If you would like to donate money to the non-profit or become a sponsor, you can check out their website here.