Nebraska, Iowa sending retired law-enforcement equipment to Ukraine

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, left, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday, July 27, 2021, that...
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, left, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday, July 27, 2021, that they oppose the CDC's new mask guidance.(WOWT)
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 2:30 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Hundreds of pieces of old — but viable — protective equipment that is no longer of use to Nebraska and Iowa law enforcement are making their way to Ukraine.

It’s part of a coordinated regional effort to provide humanitarian support there to the country under attack by Russia.

Gov. Pete Ricketts was joined at a news conference Wednesday afternoon by representatives from the Nebraska Military Department, State Patrol, and the Department of Transportation.

State agencies collected 550 pieces of expired protective gear from departments across Nebraska — including 321 body armor vests, 87 small armor plates, and 65 vest carriers, eight non-body armor police vest covers, and 69 kevlar helmets — to Ukrainians fighting against the Russian invasion. Expired equipment remains serviceable, but no longer under warranty in the U.S., NSP officials said.

The donations were then taken to Iowa, where a coordinated and cooperative effort will continue the process of getting the items to Ukraine. Iowa has which has had a sister-state relationship with Ukraine since 1996.

“Gathering the donations was the easy part. Determining how to safely and legally deliver them to the Ukrainian people was quite another,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said during her news conference Wednesday.

She said Iowa was providing retired equipment — 714 ballistic vests and 146 protective helmets — as requested by Ukraine.

“The resources that we are providing are outdated in terms of the manufacturer recommendation, but each of us in this room would agree that expired body armor in combat is better than none at all,” Des Moines Police Chief Chris Scott said.

Iowa also “stands ready” to accept Ukrainian refugees, Reynolds said.

Ricketts said the same of Nebraska. DHHS has reached out to federal agencies to offer assistance with refugees fleeing the war, he said.

“We’d be happy to welcome them here in Nebraska. Nebraska has always been a welcoming state, and we’d certainly accommodate any Ukrainians who want to come to our state,” Ricketts said.

Watch the Nebraska governor’s update

Watch the Iowa governor’s update

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