DENVER -- Broncos star Von Miller announced Thursday he would be donating $200,000 to Shield616 alongside about 20 teammates and the Broncos organization. Shield616 is a non-profit dedicated to supplying law enforcement with protective kits to keep them safer while on duty.
"The initiative will also include programming to improve law-enforcement relations in the community," the Broncos said in a press release.
The Broncos will be joining the efforts of FOX31 and Channel 2 to Support the Shield, our effort to support local law enforcement following the loss of three deputies in the span of five weeks in early 2018.
The team said the donation will be enough to supply Colorado Springs-based Shield616 with 125 protective kits to first responders. Each kit includes a ballistic vest, ballistic helmet and a wound trauma kit. They are designed to better protect first responders against automatic weapons and assault rifles compared to standard protection equipment.
“When I heard there’s been more than 300 mass shootings in the last year alone, I felt like we needed to do something for those who protect us,” Miller said through Thursday's press release. “I hope that we can all help bridge the gap and work to improve relationships with law enforcement in our communities.”
The team said once Miller began the effort, nearly 20 players decided to join him in donating. President and CEO Joe Ellis, President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway and Head Coach Vance Joseph also contributed.
"Miller, his teammates and the Broncos will also maintain relationships with the selected first responders through volunteer opportunities, programming with area kids, roundtable discussions and other initiatives," the Broncos said, explaining that each Shield616 donor will be paired with a first responder.
“It takes the unification of an entire community to not only better protect our first responders with physical armor, but to break down barriers between first responders and the citizens they serve,” Shield616 Founder and President Jake Skifstad said in the Broncos' statement. “It’s priceless to see complete strangers invest in the safety of first responders, changing their lives and the lives of their families. We are humbled and proud to see that Von Miller, his teammates and the Broncos are utilizing their God-given leadership gifts and influence to not only better protect our protectors but to also help build positive community relations.”
The Broncos will present the protective kits to local police officers and firefighters after practice on Dec. 20 at UCHealth Training Center.
FOX31 and Channel 2's "Support the Shield" initiative raised money for both Shield616 and C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors). During our partnership with Safeway, viewers raised $442,429 for the organizations. That is in addition to a phone-bank campaign that raised more than $240,000 early this year.