Grand County law enforcement joining effort to update officer safety equipment
The Grand County Sheriff’s Department and Granby Police want to better prepare their officers for incidents that go beyond the normal call of duty, so they are launching a joint fundraising effort to provide them with upgraded protective equipment which they said today that their officers do not have in sufficient number, or they do have but requires replacement due to expiration.
Sheriff Brett Schroetlin told the Sky-Hi News, “One of the common misnomers people have is that serious crime and incidents (such as the Boulder, Colo., King Soopers shooting spree that occurred last spring) only happen in metropolitan areas, and that is absolutely not true. Our officers are faced with similar incidents that occur in the big cities while also dealing with the unique challenges that come with remote areas.”
Schroetlin cited examples like the June 2004 incident in which Granby resident Marvin Heemeyer smashed through 13 Granby buildings in an armed and armored bulldozer in an attack that lasted two and a half hours, as well as “a couple of officer-involved in shootings. People have fired on our officers in the past.”
Schroetlin added that “the County, in cooperation with Granby does a great job of providing standard daily ballistic vests that our officers wear. The equip we’re looking to supplement is that which would be used on non-daily-type events…events where we may be faced with an escalated situation, a barricaded (shooting event) or hostage rescue.”
The fundraiser the two agencies have created is called SHIELD616. Its stated goal is to provide ballistic rifle plates for 25 sheriff’s deputies ($1,200 per set), and additional ballistic helmets for 15 sheriff’s deputies ($400 each). The helmets would supplement the inventory of helmets available to officers at the Sheriff’s Office. The Granby Police Department is seeking funding to provide RISE armor system ballistic rifle plates and carriers, and ballistic helmets for a minimum of 10 Granby police officers ($2,800 per set).
To date, SHIELD616 donors have helped provide $10,000 to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office fund as well as $10,000 to the Granby Police Department funds. But the agencies are seeking a group of community volunteers and business leaders who would like to become involved in their effort to support front-line officers nationwide. This September, a SHIELD616 cycling team of 35 riders will be pedaling 463 miles with a 19,500-foot elevation gain over five days starting on UT/CO border and ending on the CO/NE border. Undersheriff Wayne Schafer and Lieutenant Bobby Rauch will join the journey to help raise money and awareness to protect first responders from multiple different agencies across the state of Colorado.
SHIELD616 was founded six years ago and has since grown to four full-time staff members and over 60 volunteers. They began by providing active shooter protection for local Colorado Springs agencies, but later expanded across the U.S. Currently, they have helped provide this ballistic gear in 30 states to over 300 agencies, and have protected more than 5,000 first responders. SHIELD616 is seen as a leader in this field and is recognized by both donors and agencies as being a reputable nonprofit that is financially transparent, said the Sheriff’s Office in a statement.
“We have an obligation in law enforcement to step in to help the public no matter what, and when we do that we never know what the circumstances will entail,” said Schroetlin. “Unfortunately in today’s world, there’s an increased resistance to law enforcement and lack of the rule of law. What (more and updated gear) does is allows our officers to respond more effectively and efficiently to any call that presents itself.”
Donations for the 2022 Border to Border Bike Ride can be made online at https://shield616.org/b2b22.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.
Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.
If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.