INDIANAPOLIS, Ind (Sept. 3, 2014) - After years of working in some of Indianapolis' toughest neighborhoods, members of the Ten Point Coalition are adding another layer of protection for themselves.
The organization now has 20 bullet proof vests for volunteers and outreach workers who walk into potentially dangerous situations to keep the peace. And while members say they do not expect to be shot at, they do often find themselves standing on the street next to someone who could be.
"We go where the gunfire is and we talk to people who may be a target of a retaliation," said Rev. Charles Harrison.
Members of the Ten Point Coalition can often be seen wearing their bright, reflective vests at high-profile events in downtown Indianapolis. The faith-based organization also works to diffuse violence in neighborhoods, where trouble has already happened. Volunteers regularly meet with rival gang members and respond to volatile crime scenes.
The 20 bullet proof vests were donated by the Marion County Sheriff's Department using $10,000 from the jail inmate commissary fund.
Sheriff John Layton pointed out the irony that jail inmates who purchased items through the jail's commissary store were funding the vests for the Ten Point Coalition.
"These men and woman go out on our streets every day to keep the violence down," Sheriff Layton said. "To try to make some sense of all the violence we are experiencing."
Ten Point Coaltion volunteer Darryl Jones said there have been several times when he felt his safety was at risk. He welcomes the new vests.
"I walk in faith, don't get me wrong," Jones said. "And I know the Lord's got my back. But, it helps. "
"For some of the volunteers and our outreach workers, it makes their spouses feel a little better and more secure," Harrison said.