It’s hard not to feel a sense of helplessness when seeing the destruction and tragedy taking place thousands of miles away in Ukraine right now. As the country continues to fight off Russian forces, many in the United States are looking for any way to provide aid to Ukrainian citizens going through such a frightening time.
Recently, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in Florida announced its plans to help. The sheriff’s office has shipped more than 340 of its helmets to Ukraine to help protect residents from Russian shelling.
“As an FBI National Academy alum, I am hearing the struggles of our Ukrainian FBI National Academy graduates (police officers) as they fight for freedom in their country,” Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman wrote in a letter.
According to Hoffman, officials with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the State Department have reached out to state and local law enforcement agencies across the U.S. for equipment donations to help Ukraine “push back against this violence and protect their citizens.”
Hoffman said that the helmets were donated from the agency’s inventory surplus to help with the war effort in Ukraine.
The expired helmets, which are rotated every five years according to manufacturer standards, were sent over to DOD contractors to be distributed to the war-torn country. The sheriff wrote that the helmets would otherwise have been destroyed.
Hoffman added that the DOD hopes to supply 50,000 helmets and other equipment donations from law enforcement for use by citizens “fighting in the streets.”
“As we see the images of women and children fleeing the country, and in many cases dying in the streets, we are all struggling for ways to assist and stand with the brave people of Ukraine. We all want to do something, however small, to alleviate the death and destruction caused at the hands of Vladimir Putin,” Hoffman said on behalf of his agency.
The Yonkers Police Department in New York is also doing its part in giving back to Ukraine. Mayor Mike Spano announced in March that 40 ballistic vests and 50 tactical helmets would be sent to the country. The police equipment is slated to arrive at the Westchester Branch of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, which agreed to ship the goods to Ukraine. Additionally, the Yonkers P.D. 4th Precinct dropped off diapers, children’s clothing and baby products to a local Ukrainian youth center.
“The war in Ukraine is bearing down unbelievable tragedy upon the Ukrainian people, and the Yonkers Police stands united with them,” Police Commissioner John J. Mueller said in a press release. “It is our hope that these donations help in the defense of their homeland — we support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people at home and abroad.