INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Ten Point Coalition members will be wearing an extra layer of safety when out on the streets.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department donated 20 new bulletproof vests to the group Wednesday afternoon.
Sheriff John Layton emphasized how law enforcement always wear a vest went out on the streets, but now the people who show up voluntarily to crime scenes will feel that same protection.
Ten Point volunteer Darryl Jones struggled a bit when trying on his vest. But with a little help from a deputy, he was strapped and ready to go.
“Feels good on me,” he smiled. “I feel a lot more protected.”
The Kevlar in the vests provides rock-solid exterior meant to protect their hearts of gold.
“It is no secret that our officers have been dealing with a lot of violence they have had violence towards them,” said Troy Riggs, Public Safety Director. “And almost every time that we’ve had an officer fired upon or hit, Ten Point shows up and puts themselves in danger.”
“These men and women go out on our streets every day to keep the violence down, to try to make some sense of the violence that we’re all experiencing,” said Sheriff Layton.
Visiting crime scenes, specifically shootings, is a selfless act that can be risky when only wearing a thin neon vest, which is the typical uniform for Ten Point members.
“We know it’s happened in Chicago with the street outreach workers and some of the Interrupters where they have been on the streets and they have been hit by stray bullets,” said Rev. Charles Harrison, Ten Point Coalition.
That fear hasn’t kept Ten Point members from hitting the streets. Thanks to Sheriff Layton’s generous donation, they at least have extra protection and some peace of mind. Not just for themselves, but their family.
“For some of the spouses, they are so happy now that their spouse has this vest,” added Harrison.
“It helps, it really does,” said Jones. “Makes me feel a little better. I mean I walk in faith don’t get me wrong and I know the Lord has my back, but (the vest) helps.”
The vests cost $500 a piece, but Sheriff Layton said it’s not tax-payer dollars that covered the costs.
He said it came from the commissary fund which is what Marion County inmates contribute to when they’re behind bars, making purchases at the jail’s commissary store.
Essentially, the same people Ten Point members are protecting themselves from are the same people who paid for their vests. Sheriff Layton called it “poetic justice.”
Sheriff Layton added that the idea to donate the vests came about last week during a conversation with Ten Point. After discussing the idea further with Director Riggs, the vests were donated within days.