ANSONIA — The police department has recently acquired eight portable defibrillators and three ballistic shields thanks to the fundraising efforts of a local church.
Last September the First Baptist Church held its second annual “Honoring Ansonia Blue” event to recognize and appreciate the city’s police force — and raise funds to help supplement its budget.
The event raised $15,000 and change.
Police Chief Kevin Hale invited the organizers of the event, Maude Hinson and her husband, John, who is the pastor at the church, Wednesday to thank them for their “monumental effort” on behalf of Ansonia cops.
The defibrillators give cops the chance to give what could be potentially life-saving aid while awaiting trained paramedics, explained Patrol Officer Brendon Nelson.
“If we’re able to get to the scene prior to the ambulance and someone’s having a cardio issue, the AED is very easy to hook up and very fast to hook up, so we can actually have that on prior to EMTs getting there,” Nelson said. “It’ll actually tell you whether a shock is advised or not.”
There is now one of the devices in every patrol vehicle, Hale said.
The ballistic shields, made of kevlar, give cops the chance to safely remove an injured person from an active scene.
“These are 28 pounds and they’ll stop most every rifle round out there,” Hale said.
Mayor David Cassetti thanked the Hinsons for their efforts.
“This is terrific,” he said.
While police appreciate the new equipment, the chief said it also means a lot to cops to feel supported and appreciated by members of the community during the annual “Honoring Ansonia Blue” events.
“It’s really awesome to see the community come out and thank these officers, men and women, for what they do,” Hale said. “The equipment is terrific, because we’d likely not have this without this effort, but to me that day, the appreciation is just as important.”
Maude Hinson said it’s important to recognize police because they leave home to do a job every day unsure of whether they could return.
“We want to show them how much we care about their service and sacrifice,” she said.
John Hinson thanked his wife, who he said did the vast majority of the work organizing the events.
“She did pretty much everything by herself,” he said. “I can’t praise her enough.”
This year’s event is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 7, and will feature a live band, horse and pony rides, petting zoo, bounce house, and line dancing.
Click here for a Facebook event page, which includes donation instructions.
Maude Hinson said the church is working on setting up online donation form. Due to reports of scammers pretending to work on behalf of emergency responders, she noted the church “will never ask for credit card info on the phone for a donation.”
The fundraising done at the October event will be supplemented by Tip-A-Cop events planned for September at Crave, Copper City Bar and Grill, and McDonald’s. More details will be released as dates and times are confirmed.
Hale said the department hopes to buy about 40 ballistic helmets with the funds raised in September and October.