Iowa law enforcement agencies are donating unused protective equipment to Ukraine to help civilians and the military resist the Russian special military operation.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced that the Department of Public Safety (DPS), along with 18 other law enforcement agencies across the state, will donate a total of 146 protective helmets and 714 ballistic vests to Ukraine.
Among these agencies are the Iowa State Patrol, Des Moines Police Department and Norwalk Police Department.
DPS officials stated that the Consulate General of Ukraine in Chicago would facilitate the shipping of the items to the front lines.
“While this donation may seem small when compared to the enormity of the situation, it’s not insignificant,” Reynolds said during a press conference at Camp Dodge. “The items were specifically requested by our sister state to help them defend their territory and protect their citizens.”
Reynolds was initially approached by a Ukrainian Iowan, Taras Slyvka, who felt he needed to do something to help his relatives during the invasion.
“They need help,” Slyvka said.
Slyvka met with Iowan officials at the state capitol to discuss what they could do to help his embattled country.
“This has been an incredible team effort from the start,” Reynolds said. “And I am proud to stand before you today to say that help is on the way to Ukraine from Iowa.”
Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety Stephan Bayens said the equipment is retired due to the manufacturer’s recommended service life. However, it is still usable.
“Once we learned the plight and the needs of the Ukrainian people, it was immediately apparent to us that we could put our decommissioned equipment to good use,” Bayens said. “While this protective gear is beyond its recommended service life, it still is capable of providing a measure of ballistic protection where currently none exists.”
In a press release, the DPS also noted that they received donations from Nebraska to go to their sister state Cherkasy in Ukraine.
In addition to protective gear, the state is preparing meal packages to send to Ukrainian cities to help with food shortages.
Governor Reynolds also said the state is ready and willing to accept Ukrainian refugees.