The gourmet food tastings were delicious; the evening's goal serious.
Chef Supansa Banker was chef liaison for Vittles for Vests, to raise funds to help provide tactical vest packages to every local street cop. As Police Foundation of Colorado Springs Trustee Kyle Hybl and CSPD Commander Scott Whittington explained, the tactical vests for advanced active shooter/crowd control are "rifle rated." Regular police vests are handgun rated.
As the Vittles for Vests evening began, they were just 27 Shield616 packages short of equipping all of the authorized force of 684 police officers. After the tastings and wine samplings, another eight or nine had been paid for. Full armor packages are in the $1,200-$1,400 range.
Shield616 (shield616.org) was formed by former officer Jake Skifstad to provide better gear and protection through a cooperative effort with the community. Groups and individuals can sponsor police officers.
Chef Banker, teaming with her husband, Police Officer Richard Hayes, led the cooking teams. Presenting chefs were Patrick Nettle, Patrick Robinson, Brian Blasnek, Richard Carpenter, Mike Paradiso, Val Heitfeld, Matt Richardson, Gary Hino, Stephanie Van Wuffen, Suwanna Sumnieng Myer and Chef Kim Santo with Junior Chefs Aubrey Wood and Jake Mulack.