POTTSVILLE, Ark. — Smaller police departments in Arkansas sometimes can’t afford the protective equipment they need.
But a kind gesture after a Super Bowl win gave the Pottsville Police Department just what they needed, and right on time.
Much like car seats, bullet proof vests are only guaranteed for five years. They don’t come cheap and smaller departments struggle to foot that bill. But a family in Pottsville decided to pay it forward, donating two very special vests to the Pottsville Police Department.
The department is tiny; there are only seven police officers on staff.
And like a family with lots of kids, to save money, rookies have to wear hand-me-downs.
“Being a small department, you can’t always get the funding for the equipment that you need,” said Chief Joseph Paterak.
The department’s newest officers needed bullet proof vests that fit.
That’s where Billy Hampton and his daughter, Sophia, come in.
They’ve hosted a Super Bowl pool for nearly a decade. In recent years, they’ve paid those earnings forward.
“We thought we’d just start giving back to the community and start using some of the funds to help out Chief Paterak and the Pottsville police,” said Billy Hampton.
They donated two top-of-the-line vests to Officer Motley and Officer Hubbard.
“They got perfectly fit vests just for themselves now,” said Chief Paterak.
But they’re not just any vests. Etched onto the back, a pair of angel wings, with the names of who
Hampton calls “really good men” who have gone before us.
“All of them on the vest were big contributors to the community,” Hampton said.
One took care of animals, one was a public servant, another volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club. All supported the police department.
“They would love to see what we’re doing and that they’re watching over them and they’ll be with them every day to give them a little extra protection,” Hampton said.
The rookies wear these vests every day, with angel wings to help them protect and serve, while a few good men have their backs.
“Just to know that the men above them, every time they put that vest on, are gonna protect them,” said Hampton.
Hampton said the angels on the back of the vests donated to the Super Bowl pool every year until they passed away.
The Hamptons say next year’s Super Bowl pool is already sold out. They’re thinking of ways they can use the proceeds to help someone else in their community.