TAMPA -- A local legal foundation has partnered with Rise Tampa Our Police Foundation to donate Active Shooter Response Kits worth $28,000 to the Tampa police force.
Steve Yerrid, a lawyer at the Yerrid Law Firm in Tampa, worked with The Yerrid Foundation to purchase 75 point blank Active Shooter Response Kits to benefit the Tampa Police Department. The new equipment were presented to Police Chief Eric Ward and his officers Sept. 30 at Tampa police headquarters.
According to a press release from the city, each Active Shooter Response Kit includes a Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE), a plate carrier with two ID panels, one front 10x12 Level III+ SA rifle plate, one rear 10x12 Level III+ SA rifle plate and one carry bag.
The MOLLEs, which were bought from the Federal Eastern International Inc., are designed to protect the user from higher-level threats from rifle fire. The armor plates are external and could be used to bolster the protection provided by the standard vests issued to the department. The vests are only capable of stopping handgun rounds.
Prior to the donation, only members of the Tampa police SWAT team had armor plates included in the kits. With Yerrid’s contribution, three patrol districts will receive 25 vests each. These vests will be used by officers responding to situations with active shooters as well as other high-risk circumstances.
“These are really trying times," Yerrid told a news conference according to the Tampa Bay Times. "There’s a lot of stress and strain not only on the citizens’ part but, certainly, on the law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every single day. If this saves even one of their lives, we’ve accomplished a great, great deal.”
Jane Castor, the former Tampa police chief, said the donation also highlighted the danger hovering over the lives of the officers daily. Castor launched the Rise Tampa foundation before her retirement in an effort to raise funds to help officers get more training and better equipment.
“It is an unfortunate circumstance that we have to think on a daily basis about active shooters in our community, but that is the world we live in today and we have to make sure that our officers are prepared for that ... so they can go home after their shift,” Castor told the Tampa Bay Times.
Yerrid said he intends to donate more to the police department in the future. With approximately 1,000 police officers, the Florida lawyer said he hopes more citizens will step forward and contribute to the cause.
Yerrid is one of the most widely recognized lawyers in Florida. He has been honored by prestigious organizations such as Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, Who's Who in American Law, Law & Leading Attorneys, and Who's Who in the World. He was also named as one of the Top Ten Litigators in Florida by the National Law Journal.
Yerrid was recognized as an Outstanding Lawyer of the Year in the 13th Circuit and honored as Trial Lawyer of the Year by the American Board of Trial Advocates, Tampa Chapter. He was also selected special counsel to the Office of the Chief Judge (13th Judicial Circuit) and the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges.
He was also special counsel to the president of The United Way in Washington, D.C., and is president and chairman of the board of The Yerrid Foundation.