Both departments have teamed up with other agencies in Wayne County to send dozens of retired Special Response Team bulletproof vests to those who need them in Ukraine.
“We’re sending over 165 vests collectively, and we know it’s going to make a difference,” said Sheriff Raphael Washington.
“It’s an opportunity to help someone who’s out there living the true essence of being a first responder on the front lines fighting for their country,” said Chief James White.
Although they’re no longer being used and have expired, the armor is made out of heavy-duty Kevlar.
“There’s an expiration date from a guaranteed standpoint,” Chief White said. “But, they have properties that are still intact.”
The vests are still believed to be so strong that they can stop a high-powered handgun like a 9mm or a 45. The real power is in what they call the trauma plate.
“The trauma plates, the name brand is a K-47,” said Lt. Matthew Gloster. “It’ll defeat your high-powered rifle rounds. Those sit right in front of your vital organs, the heart, and the lungs.”
Each vest was originally slated to be recycled. But Wayne County Sheriff Washington and Detroit Police Chief White are excited just being able to make a difference in the Ukraine-Russia war, even if it saves just one life.
“Saving lives is what we do,” Chief White said. “This is why we signed up for this work.”
“When there’s an effort like this, when we all come together, we’re stronger together,” Sheriff Washington said.
Several vests are already in route. The entire shipment should be completed sometime in the near future.