Local group raising money for more officer protection

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - An Indianapolis non-profit organization is asking the public for donations to pay for protective vest plates for Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers.

Angi Cheeseman, who runs the group “Indy Going Blue” started a GoFundMe page, soliciting donations to pay for enough of the protective plates for any IMPD officers who want the plates.

“We want to support our injured officers, and help provide the underfunded equipment,” Cheeseman said Wednesday.

Cheeseman’s daughter is a member of IMPD, so she is very interested in the safety of officers who put their lives on the line to protect the public.  Cheeseman is hoping to follow up on the work of Jacen Troxell.

Troxell is the son of an IMPD detective who survived being shot in 2004.  At the age of 8, Jacen was able to raise about $20,000 with his brother Ben to pay for protective vest plates following the 2014 shooting death of officer Perry Renn.  The money was used to outfit members of IMPD’s North District with the plates.

“We wanted to help out, but we weren’t a not-for-profit at the time,” Cheeseman said.  “We finally got all our paperwork in line and decided now it’s time for the adults to take charge and finish up what that young man started.”

Cheeseman says the total cost of providing the vest plates for the entire department could be around $700,000.

“I would love to have vest plates available to each and every officer, IMPD officer that wants them,” Cheeseman said.

“Not all of them want them,” she said.  “Some have already purchased their own.  But if they want them, I would love to have them available for them.”

The plates Cheeseman wants to purchase are designed to withstand a shot from a powerful rifle and would fit inside an officer’s tactical vest.

The fundraising effort comes as the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police is calling for more tactical and safety equipment for officers.  FOP President Rick Snyder says the protective plates could compliment the additional tactical and safety equipment he wants officers to have provided.

“They’re less apt to wear that on a daily basis in their concealable body armor,” Snyder said.  “But they would love to have something like that in their supplementary armor that they could then don in a critical incident for that additional layer of protection.”

Even if an officer doesn’t wear the vest plate at all times, Cheeseman says officers could have them in their patrol vehicles, available in the event of a critical incident.  The $700,000 goal could cover the whole department, she says.  But she hopes to outfit officers district by district as the money becomes available.

“When we reach ‘X’ amount, and I believe it’s about 10-12,000, then we can outfit one district, one shift,” Cheeseman said.

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