The past year has been sobering for the courageous men and women of law enforcement across every major American city.
Here in Fort Worth, we are grateful this holiday season for survival and continued well-being in the aftermath of being wounded in the line of duty, including one of us who, through God’s help and doctors’ expertise and wisdom, continues to recuperate from life-threatening injuries.
We are beyond thankful for the outpouring of support we received in the aftermath of those shootings, as well as the support shown in the wake of the July 7 tragedy in Dallas.
For one family in particular, “thank you” is probably inadequate.
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Michael and Valerie Mallick have demonstrated why Fort Worth is the greatest city in America by making what is believed to be the largest single private donation to the city’s police force.
The Mallicks’ donation of $355,000 to buy advanced ballistic vests will serve to better protect the men and women who patrol our neighborhoods to make them safer for every family in every sector of our city.
Their generosity was also an immediate, much-needed boost to the morale of officers in Fort Worth and a lift to the peace of mind of their families.
Fort Worth is at risk of crisis as the levels of officers leaving the force before retirement and those deciding not to continue beyond retirement eligibility have increased significantly.
At peril, too, are the efforts to recruit the best available new cadets to fulfill the tasks of a very difficult job.
It should arouse the thoughtful consideration of every resident.
In making their very generous donation, the Mallicks said it was their hope that their contribution would inspire others to do the same.
Through the benevolence and leadership of two other Fort Worth families, there is a place to do just that.
Former Mayor Mike Moncrief and his wife, Rosie, and Gary and Marilyn Randle are co-chairs of Protect the Fort, a new non-profit initiative designed to raise money for vital equipment and training for the Fort Worth Police Department.
Protect the Fort has committed to raise $250,000 to buy 900 advanced ballistic helmets.
These endeavors and the support of our friends across the city will make our job safer, particularly in active shooter situations.
Lethal gunshot wounds, such as the one sustained by Matt Pearce, are most often to the torso, and the vests that the Mallicks have invested in have already saved hundreds, maybe even thousands, of officers’ lives across the country.
The modern tactical helmets from Protect the Fort will stop most bullets.
It is our hope that the people of our great city will also consider a donation this holiday season to Protect the Fort at protectthefort.com.
Fort Worth is truly a unique model of the American city in the 21st Century. It is that way because of the uncommon and innovative leadership and the good folks living within it who cherish citizenship not only as precious but sacred.
Police Sgt. Rick Van Houten is the president of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association. Ray Azucena, Matt Pearce, and Xavier Serrano are all Fort Worth officers wounded in the line of duty this year.