Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Shield616 equips MLPD


October 18, 2018

Lois E. Johnson

From left: Moose Lake Police Officers Jason Syrett, Travis Magdzas, Sergeant Mike McNulty, Debbie and Kevin Skifstad, Chief Bryce Bogenholm and Officer Jamie Jungers.

All the officers at the Moose Lake Police Department have now been equipped with gear that will protect them from rifle fire. A presentation was made of four sets of gear from Shield616 on Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Moose Lake city council chambers to Officers Jason Syrett, Travis Magdzas, Police Chief Bryce Bogenholm and Officer Jamie Jungers. Sergeant Mike McNulty had received his gear at a presentation in Carlton in July.

Debbie and Kevin Skifstad of Arrowhead Shield616 made the presentation after donations had been received to fund the gear by the First National Bank, Hamlin-Hanson-Kosloski Funeral Home, Stor-Mor Storage, Lance and Laurie Olson and other donors.

It had been explained in past presentations that there are not enough funds in police and sheriff's departments' budgets to purchase the gear for the officers.

Shield616 is a non-profit organization began by Jake Skifstad, son of Debbie and Kevin, after he was involved in two active shooter incidents in Colorado.

"Jake was asked to guard the shooter after he had been killed," explained Debbie. "As he looked at the shooter, he realized that the shooter had better equipment that he had. He vowed to do something about it. This organization is the result. We have now provided gear to officers in 19 states."

The features of the gear were explained by Debbie.

"The vest was created in July 2015," she said. "It takes 20 seconds to put on. Three armor plates in pockets on the vests will stop a rifle round.

"The ballistic helmet is the exact same type of helmet used in the night club shooting in Florida. The officer only had a slight trauma from fragments. He was very thankful for it."

Similar gear is now available to firefighters, as well as law enforcement officers, Skifstad explained.

The four sets of gear were on display at the beginning of the presentation.

"That is just a product," said Debbie.

And then each officer was asked to stand behind a set of gear.

"That changes everything," she said. "Now there is a face with each set."

Skifstad went on to explain that each officer needs a support team as well as the gear.

"They are out there every day doing a tough job," she said. "We have officers stopping at our house all of the time. Sometimes they just need to take a break and sit down and have a cup of coffee with us."

Chief Bogenholm thanked the Skifstads, the donors and the organization for the gear.

"It is humbling and amazing," he said. "We are in a dangerous and very demanding profession. We see horrible, awful stuff. I know what can happen. I was working in Moose Lake when Erv Clemons was shot 25 years ago. He was a deputy for the Carlton County Sheriff's Office.

"The best thing about our jobs here is that the community, the city and the citizens are wonderful. It is a great place to live. I am honored to serve the public. Thank you so much."

Chaplin Cindy Crestik of the Carlton County Sheriff's office said a prayer for the officers at the conclusion of the presentation ceremony.

Shield616 is a faith-based organization. Its motto is the biblical verse, Ephesians 6:16: "Take up the shield of faith, with which to extinguish all of the flaming arrows of the evil one."

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