Brotherhood of the Badge wrapping up operations
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Central Valley has long supported American troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that includes the Fresno organization the Brotherhood of the Badge.
Not long after the capture of Saddam Hussein, four members of the fledgling Brotherhood of the Badge touched down in Iraq bringing with them hundreds of bullet-proof vests and other gear for Iraqi police officers..
A Fresno police officer serving in Iraq wrote home of Iraqi police with no safety equipment, and Mike Harris and fellow cop Bryan Burry had the idea to send surplus or retired bullet proof vests from Fresno to Iraq.
"There was a bit of apprehension on the city's part at first because of liability but the liability was eventually waived and it was full speed ahead," Harris said.
The idea was also supported by Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
"It was important for those individuals, to be protected, the Iraqi police, just as our military was protected because after a time they beginning to rely on one another, and really what Mike and Brian did was nothing short of a miracle." Chief Dyer said.
Equipment came from police departments across the country and shipping costs soared..
A huge donation from a single benefactor supported those costs and more when in 2008 Valley soldiers serving in Afghanistan asked for and received the same support.
One of the last shipments left last January, the final one just days ago.
With funds shrinking along with the economy, the program is reluctantly shutting down.
"These people that have worked on the project alongside me have shown that a small band of people can do tremendous things," Harris said.
As for the end, call it a stand-down until needed again.
iraq, afghanistan, fresno, fresno county, fresno police department, local, nancy osborne
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