Contact: Brandon Perkins | Phone: 678-300-3356 | Email: email@example.com
For Immediate Release
May 24, 2017
Fifteen More American Law Enforcement Officers Are Safer On Duty After Receiving Body Armor From The American Armor Foundation
Tyrone, Ga. - A group of law enforcement officers in Oklahoma, Kansas, South Carolina, and Georgia no longer have to perform their risky duties without the protection of body armor after receiving grants from the American Armor Foundation.
To those outside of law enforcement, it’s logical to assume that every officer is issued body armor as part of their standard equipment, but this is not the case in every department. The equipment, ranging in price from $500 to over $1000 per unit, is out of reach for many small departments across the United States. “Conservative estimates place the number of U.S. officers working without a vest at over 100,000”, according to Brandon Perkins, the Founder of American Armor.
Perkins, a Georgia-based police chief, adds, “You never hear about fire departments asking firefighters to go into burning structures without turnout gear because the risk is just too great, but thousands of police officers are working unprotected despite the well known risks of their jobs.”
Agencies most at risk of being underfunded and unable to provide vests to their officers employ 10 officers or less and serve a population of 10,000 or less. According to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, that demographic employs about half of all U.S. officers and these are the agencies American Armor targets for their Body Armor Grant Program.
The current round of funding will provide new body armor to 15 officers in the following departments:
Kiowa County (OK) Sheriff’s Office - 7 vests
Pleasanton (KS) Police Department - 3 Vests
Portal (GA) Police Department - 3 Vests
Ridge Spring (SC) Police Department - 1 Vest
Greenville (GA) Police Department - 1 Vest
This distribution brings the total number of officers protected by American Armor to 35 since its official launch in 2016.
The American Armor Foundation is a registered 501c3 public charity and relies on charitable contributions from individuals and corporations for the funding necessary to provide officers with body armor. In order to make every donated dollar go as far as possible, the organization has arranged a pricing agreement with SRT Supply, Inc. to purchase new Point Blank body armor for about $450 per unit. “Given the full retail cost of new body armor, we’re extremely grateful for this relationship with SRT and Point Blank. It helps us protect more officers with our limited funding”, Perkins said.
Interested parties can learn more about American Armor on their website at www.americanarmor.org. For those interested in making a tax-deductible donation, the organization provides several options including one-time gifts, monthly contributions, and vehicle donations.
Abide Brewing Company, a microbrewery located in Newnan, Georgia, hosted Brew for the Blue on Saturday February 25 and helped us raise $2,000!
Much of the funding was generated from the sale of $1, $2, and $5 raffle tickets for items that had been donated by local businesses. Prizes included multiple gift cards to local restaurants, range passes to Atlanta Range and Ordnance, Falcons merchandise, Bluetooth Speakers, a Yeti Cooler, and a custom knife from Southern Grind.
Abide kicked in an additional $700 from entry fees.
This was our first fundraiser event of its kind and we're proud of the outcome. With a little luck, it will become an annual event for us!
We thank everyone who came out in support of our cause!
Thanks to the generosity of JP Baker Construction, American Armor has secured a sponsorship of the Karl Remy Band's performance at Chase Elliot's Chase U pre-race party at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday March 5th!
This is going to be a large event and the American Armor brand is going to be all over it, placing our cause in front of thousands of potential supporters!
Our sponsorship includes display ads during the event, social media exposure, and a mention by Karl and Chase on 92.5 The Bear during their interview on Friday March 3.
I was told very early on in the process of starting American Armor that fundraising is both the most important aspect of running a nonprofit and the most difficult. I quickly found this input to be true.
The same people, however, warned me not to fall for offers from "professional" fundraisers - especially telemarketing firms - who might approach me with offers that sound too good to be true. That advice got to the inquisitive side of me so I did a little research. It turns out that I could have very easily "hired" several firms who would charge the Foundation nothing up front, do all the work, and send us a check every month. Minus an exorbitant fee, of course.
Needled to say, I saw how such an arrangement could be bad news and swore to never go down that road. Instead, every donation we receive here is "organic", meaning that we earn them by reaching out to our personal contacts, through social media activity, and via word of mouth. This process isn't as lucrative as using telemarketers, but I get to sleep at night.
Why am I writing about this?
I was flipping through Facebook last tonight and I saw this headline: Georgia Police Fundraiser: Where did the money go? The headline was accompanied by an image of police officers holding body armor, so I was absolutely compelled to read it.
Basically, the Georgia Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is using a telemarketing firm to generate donations that help them do important work on behalf of police officers...like buying body armor. The most recent campaign generated $556,220 in revenue, but the telemarketing firm (legally) kept 81.5% of it as a reward for all of its hard work.
Do you know how much body armor we could purchase with $556,220? That's about 1,240 vests!
Someone seriously asked me not too long ago, "why American Armor? Aren't there already other charities, like the FOP, that provide body armor?" I answered, "yes, but they must not being doing a good job because there are still officers going without it and many agencies have no idea they offer body armor grants." The article that prompted this post gives a great deal of credence to my assessment.
I want this organization to keep growing and to be the one that finally makes a lasting difference in our area of focus, but we won't do it dishonestly or by using tactics that make someone else rich off the generosity of the people who believe in our cause.
It's important to know where your donation is going. Our donors can rest assured that most of their money is buying body armor and that none of it is being squandered.
The Board of Directors is excited to announce that Chief Brandon Perkins, the Founder & Executive Director of American Armor, has been selected by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) as one of its inaugural 40 Under 40 award recipients!
Each of the recipients are featured in the September 2016 issue of The Police Chief, the official monthly print publication of the IACP. According to the article's introduction, "The IACP’s 40 Under 40 Award was developed to recognize 40 law enforcement professionals under the age of 40 from around the world who demonstrate leadership and exemplify commitment to their profession."
Perkins' section of the article states,
"CHIEF BRANDON PERKINS grew up surrounded by law enforcement because his father, a former police officer, had many friends in the profession. Because of this, Chief Perkins grew up knowing what it means to wear the uniform and the badge. As the chief of the Tyrone Police Department since 2007, he maintains that level of dedication and service he grew up seeing as a child. He is constantly looking for ways to make the department, his officers, and the community better. As a result, Tyrone, Georgia, has ranked in the top eight safest cities in Georgia for three years straight and has experienced a 50 percent reduction in violent crime rates. In 2015, Chief Perkins founded the nonprofit American Armor Foundation, Inc., which assists smaller law enforcement agencies across the United States afford body armor for officers. Chief Perkins strives to make well-informed decisions that have a positive impact on the community every day. He is driven by the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies the implementation of a successful process that gets positive results.
Those around him describe Chief Perkins as passionate and highly skilled in areas such as community policing, public relations, organizational leadership, staff training, and policy development. He knows what it takes to lead a successful police department and works hard each day to make that a reality in his own community."
Our official press release is available for download below. The full text of the 40 Under 40 article from The Police Chief magazine is available for download in PDF format here.