COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A company headquartered in Columbia is making sure school resource officers in our state are better equipped to deal with active shooter situations.
The owners of US Patriot Tactical announced that they’re donating active shooter kits that come with advanced armored vests to every district in the state.
Those vests are layered with steel plates on both sides of the armor.
“This plate is different from the soft armor an officer normally wears,” said Phil Dee, co-founder at US Patriot Tactical. “This plate protects against long guns and black rifles, the rounds that they would fire. So it offers multiple hit protection.”
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has already partnered with the company to provide the vests for all school resource officers in Richland County and says the added protection could save officers’ lives in an emergency situation.
“It’s a level above the vests that the deputies wear, it gives them that extra protection,” Lott said. “They can go and confront the intruder in the school and be safe.”
Each kit comes with a carrying bag, the steel-plated vest, a tourniquet, and pockets on the vest for officers to carry emergency items. US Patriot Tactical founders say the decision to donate developed while dropping their own kids off at school.
“I was sitting in the carpool line at RNE where two of my kids attend,” said US Patriot Tactical co-founder Paul Yoo. “I thought, ‘These SROs don’t have access to active shooter kits. If an unfortunate situation happened, how would they protect themselves, protecting my kids?’”
The kits cost about $350 each and last for about 10 years. The U.S. Patriot Tactical team says the kits should arrive in the school districts across the state in about a week.
Owners of the company told WIS the vests aren’t designed to be worn around at all times and are a little heavier because of the added protection. They only take seconds to throw on in an emergency.