Ryan T. Smith, executive director of Spirit of Blue (left) presented the Safety Equipment Grant of 13 ballistic vests to Chief Mark Lewis of the Cambridge Police Department (right) at the City of Cambridge Department of Public Safety Building. Behind are a number of the officers who received new vests through the grant.
Thirteen outdated Cambridge Police Department (MD) ballistic vests were replaced by body armor funded by a grant from the Spirit of Blue Foundation sponsored in partnership with Law Enforcement United. The new gear, valued at $20,969, is already in use by those who protect and serve area residents.
Body armor degrades with age, even if it’s never exposed to gunfire. Wear, environmental conditions, sunlight and other factors compromise effectiveness over time, and even though we all want law enforcement responding to our call for help to have the right gear, timely replacement is often financially impossible.
“I am extremely thankful to the Spirit of Blue Foundation for these ballistic vests,” said Cambridge Police Department Chief Mark Lewis. “It is so important that officers are equipped with the best possible gear, which will help keep them as safe as possible in the performance of their duties.”
“Every police officer in America simply needs effective and current body armor,” explained Ryan T. Smith, executive director of the Spirit of Blue Foundation. “When agencies are operating with extremely tight operating budgets, and they have to make tough choices about what safety equipment to fund, it puts them in a difficult position. We are pleased to be able to step in and replace these vests that are expiring so these officers have the confidence to do the valuable work they do in their community.”
Law Enforcement United (LEU), the grant’s sponsor, is an organization of 1,000 active and retired police officers who honor fallen officers and raise funds to assist charitable organizations that serve the law enforcement community. Each year members of the organization ride 250 miles or more into Washington, D.C., to participate in National Police Week events and carry flags in honor of each fallen officer, which are given to the surviving families upon their arrival. Since its founding in 2009, LEU has raised over $5,750,000 for law enforcement causes.
Statistics released by the Officer Down Memorial Page show that 60 law enforcement officers have already lost their lives in 2018. The Spirit of Blue Foundation actively encourages the public at large to honor and appreciate law enforcement officers who serve to protect our communities. To learn more about the Spirit of Blue and help, visit the organization’s website.