Just a day after a shooter opens fire on an Orlando officer, Dade City Police officers are now equipped to handle an active shooter.
Officers can now better protect themselves should they ever confront a shooter. 25 active shooter kits with a $25,000 value were all 100% donated. The Greenfelder family gave the generous donation after multiple national attacks on police.
“I’m proud someone in our community was willing to come forward and do that for us," said Sgt. Tim Harrelson with Dade City Police.
The kits include a ballistic helmet and a ceramic plated vest. Unlike their regular vests, these can stop bullets from high-powered assault weapons. Protection the police chief wants for his officers.
“It can happen anywhere," said Chief Ray Velboom, "We’ve seen it in big cities and small cities.”
Despite a population of just 7,000 people, Dade City officers say every shooting puts them on edge, especially one so close to home.
“It’s now nightly on the news you see officers facing these types of situations. It’s just a matter of when it’s our turn," said Harrelson.
“Equipment is a huge issue for small agencies," said Velboom.
The department’s annual budget is about $2.5 million, though they realistically spend around $5,000 on new equipment. Meaning, it would take them around five years to afford new kits for every officer. The need is so great, the department just established the Dade City Police Foundation, a non-profit. This was its first donation.
“A lot of our in-car cameras are 8 to 10 years old. They need to be replaced," said Harrelson.
Plus old laptops and with their traditional every-day vests about to expire the need is never-ending.
That’s why this department hopes to get another much needed hand.