Chesco police departments donate used bulletproof vests to help with the war in Ukraine
West Chester and Caln police departments have taken up a collection of used body armor and donate them to residents of Ukraine, who are under assault by Russian forces.
The Eastern PA Chapter of the FBI National Academy is working with Law Enforcement Agencies to coordinate a used ballistic vest collection throughout the southeastern PA region to be sent to Ukraine. The overall program is being coordinated by the Vermont National Guard and the purpose is to provide ballistic protection to first responders (Fire Fighters, EMTs, Paramedics) on the front lines in Ukraine.
West Chester police collected 268 bulletproof vests from police in Chester County that are en route to Ukraine to be used by emergency workers for protection. The used protection gear will be given to doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff to help protect them from harm during the crisis in their country.
Members of the West Chester Police Department assisted in an effort to collect police body armor no longer in use to be sent immediately to Ukraine. Departments from all over Chester County arrived at the collection point staffed by Chief Morehead, Lt. Deighan, and Cpl. Malicki to turn over their used vests.
“It was a humanitarian effort,” J. Patrick Davis, Chester County Director Public Safety Training and Development, who orga nized the local drive, said Monday.
The vests were taken from West Chester to Lewistown state police in Juniata County.
From there, they are being dropped off at the Vermont National Guard. They are expected to be transported Wednesday to Ukraine.
The Chester County collection drive began last Wednesday when Davis was notified by Kirk Trate, a retired state police captain, of statewide collection.
West Chester Police Chief Jim Moorehead agreed to organize
the Chester County drive, asking all 47 police departments to donate. He was assisted by Lt. Martin J. Deighan and Cpl. Jason Malicki.
“The National Institute of Justice standard permits five years of use before a ballistic protective vest needs to be replaced,” Moorehead said. “Many of these vests, although out of date range, are still useful. Quite honestly, they are certainly better than having no protection.”
The state police are donating 67 used vests. The Capitol police is donating 24 surplus vests and 15 Level 3 ballistic helmets that can resist certain caliber of bullets.
Col. Robert Evanchick, the state police commissioner, said the ballistic vests and helmets are intended for Ukrainian police officers and aid workers in Ukraine, and are to be shipped by the California Army National Guard, as long as the federal government approves.
The two agencies produced about 110 used police bulletproof vests and 15 surplus ballistic helmets that they were no longer using.
“This is surplus equipment that would be thrown away otherwise,” Gov. Tom Wolf said at a news conference at state police headquarters.
Wolf noted that states cannot send weapons to a foreign country, but said the Ukrainian consulate has asked for food and masks for protection from the coronavirus, so his administration is working on those requests.
Wolf also has asked the Legislature to approve $2 million in state aid to provide help for Ukrainians fleeing the invasion who may come to Pennsylvania.
Wolf said Wednesday that he has no information about Ukrainian refugees arriving in the state.