Hubbard County Police Given Protective Gear Thanks To Community & Shield 616
The people of Hubbard County are thankful for the service of local law enforcement, and they’ve found a way to show their appreciation in more ways than just words.
“When I walked in the room and I saw all the vests lined up like that, and it was very touching to see the amount of support with all the people that came,” says Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes.
The goal of Shield 616 is to protect officers against rifle threats while also building healthy relationships with the community. This vesting ceremony serves as an opportunity to do both.
“We were able to donate 30 vests. We were able to equip all of Hubbard County, all of Park Rapids Police Department and Akeley Police Department and what’s so awesome behind me is the community that made these funds available – they’re getting to interact with them, they’re getting to check out the gear that they donated,” says Jake Skifstad, the founder and president of Shield 616.
Along with the vests, each officer also gets a ballistic helmet, safety glasses and a gunshot wound trauma kit. All the gifts are made possible through donations.
Skifstad says, “It’s word of mouth. It’s social media that these communities see and that’s how we spread.”
Two years ago, Shield 616 came to Bemidji to give a vesting ceremony to the Beltrami Sheriff’s Department. The Park Rapids community learned about the service from that ceremony two years ago and that’s part of the reason Shield 616 was in Hubbard County.
“We did actually multiple [ceremonies] up there in the Bemidji region and somebody here was a part of it and saw it and said, ‘hey, I wanna get that going here for Hubbard County, for Park Rapids.’ And now, here we are today and they’re all taken care of,” says Skifstad.
The equipment is not for everyday use. It’s only meant to be worn in case of a threat. But for the officers, knowing they have an extra level of protection is reassuring.
“We know it’s high quality protective gear and it’s something that we can use and I know that it’s going to offer the best protection available for those guys that are out there doing the job,” says Jeff Appel, Park Rapids Chief of Police.
Aukes adds, “Just like Shield 616 was saying, they hope we never have to use it and I feel the same way, but if we do, it’ll be there.”
To learn more about Shield 616, visit their website here.