The Clark County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday afternoon announced details about the purchase of new “critical” safety equipment, made possible by a local business’ fundraiser that honored two local deputies who died in the line of duty.
The widow of one of the deputies said the ballistic shields could have saved her husband last year.
Enon-based Brandeberry Winery in October last year raised $13,000 through the sale of its “Hero in Blue” bottle, of which it promised to donate $4 of each purchase to the Clark County sheriff’s office.
The money raised through Brandeberry’s fundraiser, as well as funds from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 209, went toward the purchase of 60 ballistic shields.
Credit: Bill Lackey
Credit: Bill Lackey
The personal shields have been in the office’s possession since last week and have the ability to stop a wide variety of ammunition, including high-powered rifles, according to Maj. Chris Clark.
Deputy Yates’ wife, Tracy, provided input to the sheriff’s office for the new safety equipment, telling sheriff’s office leaders that she believed her husband would have had a shield on his person the day he died if he had the option.
She said on Tuesday that she’s been advocating for ballistic shields for all deputies on the streets in Clark County since the passing of her husband.
“I’m so grateful for it,” she said. “Now it’s there for the other deputies that I care deeply about. And I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
The Hero in Blue bottles’ labels included the silhouette of both Deputies Suzanne Hopper and Matthew Yates, representing all law enforcement officers throughout the nation.
Yates, 41, was shot and killed on July 24 last year as he was responding to an incident at Harmony Estates Mobile Home Park.
Cole White, 27, of South Charleston, and Jodie Arbuckle, 47, of Springfield, were also killed that day. Relatives said Arbuckle went to check on White, her son, because of concerns about his mental health. White shot Arbuckle, relatives said, then shot Yates as he responded to the scene.
SWAT forces pulled the deputy out after being trapped inside for three hours, and shortly after, the mobile home where it happened was destroyed by fire.
Hopper, 40, was shot and killed on Jan. 1, 2011, as she was responding to a shots fired call at a camper at the Enon Beach Campground. She was ambushed by Michael Ferryman as she responded to the incident.
Dozens of officers and deputies from surrounding jurisdictions responded to the officer down call and engaged in a shootout with Ferryman, who fired upon anyone attempting to help Hopper. Ferryman was killed in the shootout.
Deputy Yates’ wife, Tracy, provided input to the sheriff’s office for the new safety equipment, according to a sheriff’s office release.
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