KRDO’s Protect the Protectors telethon issued a challenge to southern Colorado: can you help us and Shield 616 raise the money to outfit Pueblo police officers and deputies with life-saving protective gear?
You answered the call and gave us a call; Wednesday’s telethon in Pueblo raised more than $130,000 by 7 p.m., and donations are still being tallied up.
(You can still donate by visiting our web page, KRDO.com/protect-the-protectors. Scroll down on this article for mailing information.)
That’s helping Shield 616’s mission to provide 409 protective kits to the Pueblo Police Department and Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office. Shield 616 brought 50 kits to the telethon, and those were paid for in the first half of the day.
Jake Skifstad with Shield 616 said he helped start the organization after his tenure with the Colorado Springs Police Department and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Police Department. Skifstad responded to the New Life shooting when he was with the CSPD SWAT Team and then again saw tragedy strike when he responded to the Planned Parenthood shooting in 2015.
Skifstad saw that the SWAT Team were some of the only officers who had protective gear like ballistic vests and helmets that would protect against rifle fire, but other responding officers were left defenseless unless they bought the gear themselves. That’s when Skifstad decided to take on the mission of providing that gear to the officers.
When KRDO General Manager Mark Pimental discovered Shield 616’s mission, he said it was an important goal for the community to rally behind. KRDO then started working with Shield 616 to organize the Protect the Protectors Telethon at the Wisebrod Aircraft Museum in Pueblo.
Each kit costs about $2,000 at retail price, but Shield 616 is able to provide the kits for $1,500. Our goal for Wednesday was to raise enough for the 50 kits seen in the background of the telethon. Now, our eyes are set on the bigger sights of providing all 409 kits needed in Pueblo County.
Shield 616 has already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide kits for police departments and first responders in 18 states. Just last year, we reported when the entire Colorado Springs Police Department was given protective kits.
Phil Long is donating a Ford Shelby Raptor for a raffle, and all proceeds will go to help Shield 616 provide protective kits. Raffle tickets are $100 each, and there are 2,500 tickets available. You can get them at Phil Long Chapel Hills.
You can also donate by visiting our web page, KRDO.com/protect-the-protectors. If you want to mail a check for the fundraiser, you can send it to: Shield 616, 5550 Tech Center Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80919. Make sure you put “KRDO Telethon” in the memo of the check.