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Kern County Sheriff’s Office send tactical vests to help Ukraine

“We’d like to get these to people.”
Russia Ukraine War
Posted at 5:24 PM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 20:31:33-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As the crisis in Ukraine continues so do the efforts of people here at home trying to help in any way they can.

It’s customary for law enforcement to replace bulletproof vests when they’re past the manufacturers issued warranty, but deciding where they go is no small thing, because they don’t want them to fall into the wrong hands.

County law and public officials said that sending these vests abroad to aid in a humanitarian cause is the right move.

“We’d like to get these to people and help protect them,” said Mike Maggard, Kern County Supervisor.

The war front is thousands of miles away, but for those here at in Kern County the Russian invasion of Ukraine hits home.

That’s why when City Council Member Patty Gray reached out to Supervisor Mike Maggard, he put out the call for local law enforcement to check their inventory for tactical vests to send to Ukraine.

“If there’s equipment that we’re not going to use, that we’re going to dispose of, that’s going to help somebody else in dire need, then that’s a cause a lot of people can get behind.”

Kern County Sheriff's Office’s Chief Deputy Sheriff Larry McCurtain is talking about 68 bulletproof vests, which the exact ones cannot be shown due to safety reasons for sheriff’s deputies.

Due to a warranty date from the manufacturer and internal and U.S. policy, KCSO’s patrol officers need to replace the vests with new ones.

McCurtain and Kern County’s Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said that doesn’t mean the vests don’t work.

“We can’t just go toss them into the trash can, we don’t want just anybody grabbing them. So, disposing of them is not just some casual thing we do. This is a great way to get rid of them and to frankly have them utilized in an important way, on the ground in Ukraine,” said Alsop.

They’re not the only law enforcement agency in the county checking their inventory.

BPD told 23ABC that, "The Bakersfield Police Department is currently conducting an inventory of equipment to determine the feasibility of donation."

Alsop confirming with 23ABC that KCSO is meeting with police departments throughout Kern on Thursday about this effort.

“City of Shafter, City of Delano, City of Arvin, so on and so forth. Any other police agency in the county that may have some of this equipment, we want to hear from them. Once we get all of that dialed in and get an understanding of it, we can ensure that we get it in the right hands.”

McCurtain said this process is still in the preliminary stages and as Supervisor Maggard mentioned in their meeting Tuesday, they still need to determine how they would get the equipment shipped over.