Lion's Club hosting fish fry to help Slaton PD replace expired b - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lion's Club hosting fish fry to help Slaton PD replace expired bulletproof vests

Dekraker (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs) Dekraker (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)
Source: Ashlyn Tubbs Source: Ashlyn Tubbs
Barnes (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs) Barnes (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)
Source: Ashlyn Tubbs Source: Ashlyn Tubbs
Source: Ashlyn Tubbs Source: Ashlyn Tubbs

The Slaton community will gather this Friday to honor local law enforcement.

It's called the Back the Blue Fish Fry, an event they hope will provide police officers with at least five new bulletproof vests.

"They're required by policy to wear them every time they're on duty," said Police Chief Trevor Barnes. "You have to ask yourself, what is your life worth?"

Most of the Slaton Police Department's vests are past their expiration date, which is five years after they are manufactured. They hope to replace these bulletproof vests with high quality models that fit comfortably.

"There's a lot of sweat in a very, very hot vest…so that's why they're required to be replaced," Barnes said. "They're no longer guaranteed to stop a bullet."

Officer Steve Muckraker's vest is past its expiration date.

"It's an everyday tool that you really have to have," he said. "Anything to help you come home at night definitely makes you a little bit happier. I know the majority of officer's vests are expired now."

Weldon Self heard about this problem in February. He has a heart for law enforcement because of family ties to officers.

"Being around them all the time, you get an appreciation of what they do…protect and serve," Self said.

Self knew the Lions Club could help the Slaton officers.

"We could do something to raise money to help our police department buy some life vests that are current and up to date for them," he said.

The Lions Club will host the Back the Flue Fish Fry Fundraiser this Friday night at Hangar 8 of the Slaton Municipal Airport at 12106 FM 400 from 6 p.m. until they run out of food.

"Hopefully we can buy four or five vests [with donations]," he said.

When Robert Neal heard Self's idea, he agreed to provide the space, and the fish.

"We spend a lot of time fishing down on the coast," Neal said, "and we're blessed to normally catch a lot of fish. Lots of saltwater fish that people up here on the dry flatland may not be too familiar with."

Neal is eager to host this event is because of what happened to a Slaton police officer on July 15. Officer Paul Rucker was dragged 900 yards by a vehicle while directing traffic at a car show.

"Those guys do even just the little things for us each and every day," Neal said, "so if we can make things a little bit easier on them, that's money out of their pocket that they have to buy those vests with."

The Lions Club's goal to protect the men who protect them each day might take a lot of fish plates and donations.

"It's going to cost me over $6,000 to replace [the vests]," Barnes said.

Barnes and Muckraker are thankful the Slaton community values their safety.

"To know that your equipment is up to date and top-of-the-line really helps with your day-to-day activity," Muckraker said. "It just lets them have a little bit more ease of mind."

RELATED STORY: Slaton police officer dragged 900 yards, thrown into bar ditch

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