By Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (April 12, 2022) – The Lansing Police Department has donated some of its unused ballistic vests to aid ongoing efforts in Ukraine, joining some other local police departments in supporting Ukrainian troops.
The campaign for police department donations to Ukraine was organized by Steven Vaccaro, former chief of the Mokena Police Department. Vaccaro said that his sister, Jennifer Doloski, first approached him about obtaining ballistic vests for Ukraine. Doloski is a U.S. facilitator for Hand of Help Adoption, which is a Ukraine-based adoption organization. Members of that organization in Ukraine had expressed a need for bulletproof vests to protect volunteer fighters, Vaccaro said.
Vaccaro reached out to his network through the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police to request old or unused protective equipment.
“The response was overwhelming,” Vaccaro said, adding that the large amount of donations led to him partnering with Help Heroes of Ukraine to get the equipment to Ukraine.
As of this writing, Vaccaro said 760 ballistic vests have been collected from police departments in the Chicago area, as well as over 70 helmets, 150 pairs of tactical eyewear, vest carriers, and 100 tourniquets.
Lansing Sergeant Chuck Weeden heard of his friend Vaccaro’s campaign to collect vests and equipment, and the Lansing Police Department decided to donate 29 of its unused and old ballistic vests to the campaign.
“We had a lot of vests. They expire, so we replace them every five years for our officers, but we keep a lot of the older vests that still function and we use them for training purposes,” Weeden said.
In addition to 26 used vests, the department had three new ones that were not in use. All 29 were given to Vaccaro.
The vests are made of Kevlar, and designed to resist gunfire, blades, and other weapons. The vests “expire” after five years according to the manufacturer, but Weeden said, “The vests we gave to them I’d trust as the ones we wear right now.”
The Lansing Police Department is located at 2710 170th Street.
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