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Local foundation funds SPD active shooter armor
Seized assets cover other half of costs for 75 plate vests
Propps  Bryan
Nick Propps, left, president of the Statesboro Police Officers Foundation, and SPD Deputy Chief Rob Bryan address City Council. - photo by AL HACKLE/Staff

The Statesboro Police Officers Foundation, led by local business people and civilian professionals, has granted the Statesboro Police Department $8,000 for additional body armor, in the form of vests called ballistic plate carriers with hard armor plates, for all of its officers.

This will be roughly half the total, a little more than $16,000, needed to buy 74 or 75 of the vest-and-plate sets for the department, which if fully staffed would have 74 sworn officers. The remainder will come from the department’s seized assets fund, so the purchase will have no impact on the city’s tax-supplied general fund, SPD Deputy Chief Robert W. Bryan told City Council.

Nick Propps, president of the Statesboro Police Officers Foundation, stood beside Bryan Tuesday evening as both spoke briefly to the council, which unanimously approved accepting the $8,000 grant. The foundation was formed in 2015 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable corporation.

“In the recent climate that we’ve had, there’s been a lot of turbulence in law enforcement, and some people said we want to help make things better,” Propps said.

Propps is also president of the real estate firm Statesboro Properties. Dirk Totten of the food brokerage company Southern Harvest Holdings was the foundation’s previous president. Several other business owners and executives, two lawyers and the county school superintendent are also board members.

When the Police Department has a significant need that is not fully funded, foundation members raise money specifically to help purchase equipment or accessories, Propps said.

“It’s really just another group that can help pitch in, offer support, improve community relations and help facilitate whatever the Police Department may need,” he said. “If an officer is sick or injured, we’re also another resource for that, to help take care of that officer and their families.”

 

Added armor

Not to be confused with the soft body armor that SPD officers usually wear, the plate carriers are vests that will hold armor plates in the front and back. The plate material is abrasion-resistant steel. Bryan referred to this as equipment for responding to “active shooter” and similar situations.

“Typically with your active shooters, a lot of times it’s a long gun, a rifle, and the soft body armor is going to be defeated by a rifle, where this hard armor, most of the plates, the AR 500 steel, will protect up to a certain rifle round,” he said in an interview.

Bryan had obtained price quotes of $16,275 for 75 plate carriers and sets of front and rear plates from Clyde Armory in Athens; $16,650 for 74 carrier and plate sets from a supplier in Greensboro, North Carolina; and $18,014.25 for 75 sets from a third supplier in St. Petersburg, Florida.

After serving since October 2015 as the Statesboro Police Department’s interim chief, Bryan remains in that role pending the scheduled April 17 arrival from Wyoming of Charles “Mike” Broadhead, recently hired as the new police chief. Bryan will continue as the department’s second-in-command.

He encourages citizens to learn more about the foundation.

“I can’t say enough about them,” Bryan said. “They meet every month, and all of these business owners are giving their time for this cause, and not just in the meetings.”

The foundation’s website is www.StatesboroPolice.org, or look up “Statesboro Police Officers Foundation” on Facebook. The website provides a mail-in donation form but does not accept online donations.

 

Other activities

The 50 percent grant toward the plate carrier sets is one of the foundation’s major projects for the year, Propps said.

“We’re just really excited to be able to equip all of the officers in the P.D. with this extra protection to help make them safer whenever they have calls to go to that are extremely dangerous,” he said.

The foundation supports the department’s annual Tactical Leadership Challenge, or TLC, an obstacle course event that serves as a fundraiser. SPD officer-of-the-quarter and of-the-year awards come with foundation-sponsored plaques and gifts. The nonprofit also supports a program called Cars4Kids, supplying toy cars officers give away to children.

Members will be raising money to assist an officer who was in the hospital as of Tuesday, Propps said.

 

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.

 

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