Law enforcement officers, elected officials and community members gathered at the kickoff of Operation Safe Shield’s fundraising campaign to bring a new bullet resistant technology to Brazos County.
Attendees at Wednesday’s event saw a demonstration of ATEK Defense System’s one-way bullet resistant window as it was shot at from both directions, stopping bullets shot toward the outside of the window and allowing bullets shot from inside of the window to go through.
“It’s amazing; it’s very amazing to see this,” Pct. 2 Constable Donald Lampo said following the demonstration, holding one of the flattened deflected bullets in his hand. “The safety of it. I really can’t put it into words how exciting it is. I know the cost is pretty expensive, but what’s a life worth? You can’t put a price on it. This is very, very, very nice.”
Operation Safe Shield is a local nonprofit that was formed out of Backing the Badge BCS and K9s4Cops with a goal to support law enforcement officers in the Brazos Valley. The latest way is to raise about $2 million to outfit Bryan, College Station and Brazos County law enforcement vehicles with ATEK Defense System’s half-inch-thick Shield Glass in the windshield and front windows of the car and armor in the door.
The cost per vehicle is about $7,500, Operation Safe Shield board member Marilyn Moore said, and they want it to be an ongoing effort so they can install the glass in replacement vehicles and new vehicles in the departments.
Senate Bill 2222, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in June, will fund bullet resistant glass for Texas Department of Transportation vehicles, though the contract for those windshields has not been awarded.
After outfitting law enforcement vehicles in Brazos County, Moore said, their goal is to reach the rest of the Brazos Valley and the state, if possible.
The initiative to provide the new windows began in the spring of 2021 after DPS Trooper Juan Tovar was shot in April in pursuit of the suspect in the Kent Moore Cabinets shooting and DPS Trooper Chad Walker, who was shot and ultimately died from his injuries in March 2021 in Mexia.
“We feel passionate about it that we want to give back to our local law enforcement, and help protect them because they protect us at the end of the day,” Moore said. “… It’s just our way of giving back to the community, and our hope and prayer is that the community will see a need for this and open their purses and their hearts and want to donate and help protect our officers.”
They hope to get funding from Bryan and College Station, but a majority of the funding will come from community support. The fundraising campaign will officially kick off Friday, in conjunction with Backing the Badge BCS’ seventh annual Backing the Badge BBQ event, which will honor the victims and heroes of Sept. 11.
Brazos County Sheriff Wayne Dicky said the window represents the latest evolution in law enforcement protection and supports efforts that will help protect officers. He called it amazing to see the protection provided by the half-inch glass that is clear and functional as a window.
Officer Joel Bravo, who was shot in the chest in 2017 while responding to a robbery in progress with the Bryan Police Department, said he was amazed to see the demonstration.
He credits the windshield and his armor for the reason he survived the ordeal, and said bullet resistant windshields and front windows will help officers do their job with an added layer of protection.
“Wearing my armor and having that protection with that vehicle and seeing what it does first hand, I think it will be beneficial to any member of law enforcement to have that extra layer of protection,” he said during the program.
For more information about Operation Safe Shield or to donate, go to operationsafeshield.org.