Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- On the morning of April 27th, Columbia Police Officer Alex Broder was shot, and thanks to his bulletproof vest, he survived.
The Columbia P.D. has been forced to replace over 200 vests so far this year, due to age and wear and tear. The Federal Justice Assistance Grant program has covered the cost of providing 84 new vests to the CPD, and from donations by the Invest and WalMart companies the police department was able to replace another 15.
The vests cost $545 each, and there's a program created by JHS Capital Advisors, called the JHS Shield Program, to help raise money for the remaining 116 vests needing replacement.
Monday morning Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin was joined by Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott, JHS Capital Advisors founder John H. Sykes, and US Patriot, LLC Vice President of Operations Paul Paterson at a news conference in order to launch the JHS Shield Program.
"Every single one of these officers is somebody's father, somebody's son, somebody's mother or somebody's daughter, and these men and women put themselves in harm's way every day to protect our homes and families," said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. "They're family, and this is our chance to keep them safe."
For every vest donated by citizens and businesses in Columbia, up to 50% (58 vests in total) JHS Capital Advisors will make a matching gift.
The expense of the 116 vests can be covered completely if 31 businesses each donate $1,000.
"For police officers who put themselves in the line of fire while protecting their communities, effective bulletproof vests often mean the difference between life and death," said Sykes of JHS Capital Advisors. "The JHS Shield Program will make sure that police officers in Columbia are protected with this life-saving equipment."
To make a tax-deductible contribution, make checks payable and mail them to:
The Columbia Police Foundation
P.O. Box 1694, Columbia, S.C. 29202
(please include "JHS Shield Program" in the check memo field).
For additional information on the JHS Shield Program, please visit www.jhsshieldprogram.org or contact Michael Wukela at 803-413-5052.
A number of local businesses and residents have already stepped forward to support this important effort, and CPD wants to thank everyone for their generosity.