Twin Falls man raises $15,000 to buy body armor for ORS

Often officers don’t wear bulletproof vests until they need them. Newer, lighter gear allows them to wear full armor on a regular basis.

TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Forrest Andersen, with the help of members of the Magic Valley community, raised $15,000 to equip Magic Valley School Resource Officers (SROs) with new rifle body armor.

“I saw the footage of Uvalde,” Andersen said. “It made me very angry. It made me very frustrated.”

Andersen was frustrated as it took law enforcement over an hour to enter the classroom and confront the shooter. The shooter killed 19 children and two teachers.

Andersen wanted to work on a solution.

“If we’re going to have our officers come through the gate despite the bullets coming through to stop this aggressor, surely we can, as a state, community and individuals, equip them with the best gear,” Andersen said.

According to Capt. Scott Bishop of the Twin Falls Sheriff’s Office, the ORS has body armor that’s approved for rifles. However, it is unusual for an officer to wear this equipment regularly throughout the day. It can weigh over 20 pounds.

An officer would typically don the gear in direct response to a potential firefight.

” What will they do ? Run to their car, put on their bulletproof vest and run back? Andersen said. “They have to have it, so when it happens they are ready to react to the situation.”

Modern body armor plates are thinner and weigh just over a pound, according to Andersen. This equipment can cost up to $800 per plate – it’s not usually something smaller departments can budget for, according to Captain Bishop.

“Body armor – especially rifle-approved plates – has changed a lot over the past few years,” Captain Bishop said. “[A couple] pound sterling? You can wear it all day.”

According to Andersen, the fundraiser will provide 18 Magic Valley SROs with modern, lightweight, rifle-approved body armor.

“That’s what we were doing here. We’re telling people we’re going to give you everything possible to do your job. Now go for it,” Captain Bishop said.

Andersen has a supplier who can sell these plates for much less than what other suppliers have quoted Captain Bishop in the past. Andersen donates the plaques directly to the SROs and their departments. This allows the money to be stretched even further, Andersen said.

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