Jefferson County law enforcement will bike across Idaho to raise money for protective equipment - East Idaho News

Jefferson County law enforcement will bike across Idaho to raise money for protective equipment

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RIGBY — During a public meeting in Rigby last week, law enforcement officers with the Rigby Police Department and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office announced their participation in a border to border bike race.

Officers Dustin Parkinson and John Erickson, along with Deputies Cole Kelly, McKenzie Salvesen and the city’s mayor, Richard Datwyler, will be joining the Twin Falls Police Department for the three-day event, slated for July 20 to July 23. Shield616, a nonprofit that provides protective equipment for law enforcement, is sponsoring the race. The purpose of it is to raise funds for rifle-rated body armor.

“It’s rated higher to be more resistant to rifle rounds so that in the field when we’re facing someone presenting a threat, we’re better protected,” Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy John Wolfe tells “It’s lighter than conventional rifle-resistant plates, meaning it’s more comfortable for officers to wear throughout the course of their day.”

Riders and other donors will be raising funds for 35 shields, a total cost of about $72,000. The sheriff’s office is seeking 25 shields and Rigby PD is seeking 10. Their goal is to raise about $115,000 for Shield616.

The 353-mile relay will begin in Jackpot, Nevada near the Idaho-Nevada border and finish in Alpine, Wyoming near the Idaho-Wyoming border. Participants will gain about 8,000 feet in elevation over the course of the race. The specific mileage breakdown for each day is available on the website.

“(Organizers) try to design their routes so that it goes through some of these jurisdictions that are partnered with Shield 616,” says Wolfe.

The event will kick off with a law enforcement appreciation night at Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls on July 19.

The relay costs around $600 for each participant. Both agencies will help provide food and other items needed during the race. The shields will be awarded to the participants during a presentation at the end of the race.

With an influx of people throughout the county in the last several years, Rigby Police Chief Allen Fullmer says there is an increase in crime. The potential for additional threats toward officers is what prompted the agencies to participate in the relay.

“Most ballistic vests are rated for about five years,” Wolfe explains. “We upgraded our vests about five years ago. They were expiring and when we heard about (this program), we thought this was a good opportunity to increase the level of protection for our deputies and officers.”

Former Colorado Springs Police Officer Jake Skifstad founded Shield 616 in 2015. Since then, he and his team have worked to make this an annual event for communities nationwide.

RELATED | Participants of 4-day bike race across Idaho benefitting law enforcement arrive in Idaho Falls

The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office partnered with Shield 616 in 2021 for its first-ever border-to-border bike relay.