Over 160 metro officers getting protective vests thanks to ‘Working for Blue’ contributions

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- They can mean the difference between life and death.

FOX4 viewers showed their support for law enforcement during our "Working for Blue" telethon last fall. Now, officers from across metro are about pick up the potentially life-saving equipment many of you are providing with your contributions.

On Wednesday, officers from 33 metro law enforcement agencies will receive their new protective vests.

Jake Skiffstad, founder of Shield 616, a nonprofit that helps generate money for the purchase of those vests, demonstrated the rifle-resistant protection these devices provide. More than 160 sets of gear will be given thanks to your donations to the telethon in October.

"We don't have the time to put on bulky equipment," Skiffstad explained as he fitted one of the last few officers for their protective vests. "For (the vests) to come from the community, it's just so powerful."

Skiffstad, who has also spent time working as a law enforcement officer, said each set of gear costs $1,200 and includes a trauma kit that can be used to care for the wounded or even officers who may have been shot in the line of duty.

He said without assistance from the public, many of the agencies receiving the new vests couldn't afford them.

"We get to invite them to come on in, and to see the officers get their gear and to shake all these officers hands and to say, 'Hey, I support you. We're grateful what what you do.' It really is powerful and meaningful, both for the officers and the donors," Skiffstad said.

"This stuff is very expensive. It has to be replaced every five years. It's really hard for these agencies to budget it. To have it come from their local communities, it's that much more meaningful."

An army of officers from four metro counties will receive their vests in a Wednesday ceremony at the Kansas City Police Academy. Shield 616 representatives said the public is welcome to attend, but they ask that attendees RSVP by using the email address info@shield616.org.

FOX4 will be live streaming the entire ceremony on our Facebook page and we'll have coverage during our 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts.

It's not too late to donate to the Working for Blue campaign. There are still many local law enforcement agencies that need your help. You can donate here.