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Community raises funds to provide helmets for police

After the deadly standoff in July last year that left four officers injured and resulted in the death of a Lubbock County Sheriff’s Sergeant and SWAT Commander, Joshua Bartlett, the Levelland community took it upon themselves to help the local police department.

As part of the standoff, Levelland Police Sgt. Shawn Wilson suffered a gunshot wound to the head. Community members learned the police department was not equipped with tactical helmets.

The organization Love Levelland took the lead by calling on community members to donate funds to purchase the helmets for police.

Through this, the organization was able to raise half of the funds necessary to move forward with the purchase.

From there, Amber Smith and Megan Damrell teamed up with more community members to host a Back the Blue event, which ended up raising $65,000.

Smith said they were able to put $5,000 towards a future fundraising event and establish an endowment, Hockley Heroes, through the Community Foundation of West Texas.

Smith said the goal of the endowment is to be able to provide grants for all public safety entities and personnel who might find themselves in need.

“It’s for all first responders, including firefighters, police and paramedics,” Smith said. “We will try to have a fundraiser every other year to grow it.”

The Back the Blue event helped the police in the purchase of the helmets through the reverse auction.

The reverse auction was held as a way for a raffle ticket holders to be the winner of a 2021 Dodge Challenger. While selling tickets for the raffle, countless residents bought tickets in the name of the Levelland Police Department, Hockley County Sheriff’s Office and Levelland EMS.

Tickets were pulled throughout the event until only 20 remained. The remaining ticket holders were told to sit at the front and were given a choice to either auction their chance to win, or hold their spot.

The price point increased as more and more tickets were auctioned off. One of the lucky ticket holders was Albert Garcia, Levelland Police Chief, who stayed until he was able to auction his ticket off for enough money to complete the purchase of the tactical helmets.

Love Levelland presented the check to the Levelland Police Department in the amount of $14,445 in November.

Friday, the police department was happy to unveil the new helmets, which will help to protect officers in future situations.

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