Tightening budgets are having an effect everywhere, even on the first responders who “protect and serve.” It’s hard to believe, but some departments are having trouble underwriting critical gear—including patrol rifles.
When we call 9-1-1, we naively expect responding officers to ride in to save the day with the latest techniques and most advanced gear available. Sadly, that’s not always the case.
At least one group is trying to address those shortfalls, though, and the grants it issues are helping purchase critical equipment—including firearms. The Spirit of Blue Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to “the enhancement of officer safety and vitality throughout the law enforcement community by promoting public awareness for their protection and fulfilling safety equipment and training needs.” As part of that mission, it issues grants to departments unable to fully underwrite the gear law enforcement needs when they answer a call for help.
The list of purchases made possible by the money it provides is eye opening. The Cicero, N.Y., Police Department procured patrol rifles, magazines, chest rigs and slings with the funding. In Veazie, Maine, it was also patrol rifles, and Troy, N.Y., secured riot helmets and gear. Officers in South Windsor, Conn., are now carrying C.A.T. tourniquets to stop a victim’s potentially fatal bleeding—whether officer or civilian.
Maybe of the bean counters in their respective city halls had to call 9-1-1 for something other than a halftime BBQ blaze, they’d appreciate officers with modern firearms, medical gear and helmets.