Home Valuable stamps CT Police Services Donate Bulletproof Vests and Helmets to Ukraine

CT Police Services Donate Bulletproof Vests and Helmets to Ukraine


FAIRFIELD — Connecticut police departments have come together to donate body armor and helmets to support the defense of Ukraine, amid a Russian invasion that has left hundreds confirmed dead.

The department collected more than 200 previously worn police ballistic vests and dozens of helmets from police departments at Fairifeld, Brookfield, Darien, Easton, Greenwich, Monroe, Norwalk, Stratford, Trumbull, Wilton, Westport and Western Connecticut State University.

They will be donated directly to the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council.

Paris said the supplies, which were piled up at a press conference on Monday, will help the people of Ukraine “fight courageously for their freedom”.

“These vests will be distributed by a Ukrainian organization called ‘Come Back Alive,’ which is authorized by the State and Defense Departments, to home defenses in hotspots across Ukraine,” he said.

Russian military forces began invading Ukraine on February 24, with ground troops supported by armored vehicles, aircraft, and large-scale bombardments of Ukrainian military and civilian infrastructure. Ukrainian civilian casualties are rising, with the UN human rights office reporting 902 killed and 1,459 injured on Sunday – although it noted the true death toll is likely “significantly higher”.

Paris said State Representative Laura Devlin (R, 134) was the driving force behind the collection, which began March 10.

Devlin, from Fairfield, said she was at the recent rally in support of Ukraine at the Ukrainian American Club in Southport and asked leaders what Ukrainians needed most, including club president Michael Gudzik, who is a former Westport police officer. He was told that civilians and people fighting in the conflict needed more protective gear.

Devlin said she, along with State Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28), called Police Chief Robert Kalamaras and Fairfield resident and combat veteran Alex Plitsas to see how Fairfield could help. She said Kalamaras brought up the idea of ​​donating used armor and helmets at a meeting of the Fairfield County Police Chiefs Association.

Devlin said Plitsas, which led evacuation efforts in Afghanistan and is now doing the same for Ukraine, had a way the Fairfield Police Department could get supplies directly to Ukraine.

“Everything fell into place,” she said. “What is most gratifying and important is the enthusiasm with which our leader has been embraced by all departments in Fairfield County to try and make a difference. This is just one more example of people coming together in every way possible to contribute whatever they can to help the cause.

sergeant. John Thome of Greenwich Police helped collect 30 helmets and 30 vests.

“They’ve reached the end of their operational life, but that doesn’t mean they’re not functional,” he said, “and that’s a good cause.”

Thome had to remove the “Greenwich” stamps on the equipment before donations, a fairly simple chore, he said.

Greenwich Police say the equipment can only be used by officers for five years, but is still in good condition. The helmets and vest are worth hundreds of dollars each when bought new, according to Greenwich police commanders.

Thome, an army veteran, said the equipment might not be used for frontline troops, but would be invaluable for paramedics, aid workers and civilians moving through areas where combat operations are underway.

Fairfield First coach Brenda Kupchick said officials wanted to do everything possible to help a country defend its democracy.

Paris said the department was in communication with Ukraine’s Defense Ministry about the supplies, but wanted to keep the delivery route confidential for security reasons. He said Come Back Alive is an approved organization that falls under the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council.

“That’s one thing we wanted to determine and ensure was that these vests were going to the right people,” he said. “We know that the Ukrainian people will have to fight for their freedom.”

Devlin noted that there are three different groups the vests and helmets could be aimed at — military, home defense forces, and civilians. She said the equipment would be useful to all three of them.

“If you have nothing, something is really important,” she said.

Robert Marchant contributed to this report.