Wellford Police issue new shield equipment
The City of Wellford is deploying a new tool to help its police officers de-escalate potentially dangerous situations.
Police Chief David Green said the department will be introducing new Vector De-escalation Shields and Training.
“We’re the first department in the state that’s going to deploy these to officers,” Green said. “The idea behind it is to deploy the shield versus a taser or a weapon to keep officers safe and to de-escalate a situation before it gets to a point of lethal contact.”
Three shields are already in use.
“We’re going to deploy at least six units to the officers,” Green said. “We’ve got three now. We’ve got three more coming.”
Green is hoping to influence other area agencies to get shields as well.
“I’m pretty much sold on the idea,” Chief Green said. “It’s definitely a benefit for the community.”
The shield provides additional time in tense situations for officers and criminals to de-escalate.
“With the shield, it’s a barrier between me and you,” Chief Green said.
“With the training and techniques, you’ll be able to at least defend and possibly disarm with never having to use lethal force,” he said, “and that’s our whole goal behind this is officers to have another tool in their tool belt and never have to reach for their gun.”
Chief Green described the shield as “very forward thinking.”
“This is completely outside the box when it comes to law enforcement,” Chief Green said. “I’m glad we can jump on it.”
“It’s been not used as much as I think it’s going to be used,” he said. “When you see, it does look like some kind of movie or off the Avengers, but when you look at the de-escalation side of things, I’m less afraid of you if you’ve got a pocket knife.”
Chief Green noted how the shield will be used by school resource officers, in domestic violence cases and with other scenarios.
The Vector Police Shield and its De-Escalation Training Program were created by veteran Army Special Forces medic (18D) Robert Scalli, who attended Harvard University at night while raising a son and daughter. He later was also in charge of Steven Seagal’s close protection team.
“I would rather see an officer de-escalating a potentially dangerous situation with words and one of our shields than with a baton, pepper spray or a gun,” Scalli said. “Sometimes violence can be avoided with better choices. Vector builds those better choices that work.”
The Vector Shield is a fully patented police shield and defends against bullets, projectiles, knives, machetes, bats, bricks, needles and animals. It is patented by Sunstein Law in Boston. The Vector Shield provides a protective shield for an officer while at the same time provides a safety barrier for citizens.
Wendy Vogenberger is a G-licensed contractor in the State of Florida and after college worked for the Department of Defense through the Army Corps of Engineers. She then went on to manage a manufacturing facility and build another facility from the ground up. She has over 20 years of direct hands-on experience in the manufacturing industry. She is a federal, state and local Vector Shield instructor and managing partner at Vector. She has worked hand in hand with Scalli over the last five years to help develop manufacturing and the Vector De-Escalation training curriculum.
“We love what we do,” Vogenberger said. “It’s not often you find a job where you can save lives and work with such amazing people.”
Vector’s Shields and De-EscalationTraining have proven to de-escalate dangerous and even deadly situations in documented police reports. Vector De-Escalation Training is true-to-life and simulates real scenarios that officers encounter every day.
“With Vector’s Shields and De-Escalation Training an officer can go down the Use of Force Continuum and De-Escalate violence instead of going up to lethal force,” Vogenberger said. “When using a Vector, officers are able to deploy a shield with proper training and apply non-lethal defensive tactics instead of having to draw a firearm in many situations. A protected officer is safer for the officer and the public.”
A protected officer has added time to assess a situation and can de-escalate tensions a lot better with a shield than without one.
“Until the Vector Shield and De-Escalation Training was developed, all most officers had to use to defend themselves were offensive weapons like a handgun or Taser,” Vogenberger said. “There was no real way to stop violence so an officer could react in a less aggressive manner.”
“In using a Vector Shield, an officer’s vitals or ‘hydraulics’ are protected, so he or she is safe to talk to someone who might just be having a bad day or to see if a child has an Airsoft gun or a real firearm without the officer having to automatically resort to his or her weapon,” she said. “The Vector Shield creates a ‘speed bump’ that can actually slow down and reverse aggression. Vector is what’s known as a sole source provider and is the only company in the country to manufacture, sell and train on these life-Saving de-escalation tools.”
The Vector Shield and training offers protection and safety to officers, the public and even family pets. The Vector Training curriculum instructs officers to de-escalate dog attacks in the safest manner possible for the dog and officer.
“If a dog is barking but is not attacking, an officer protected behind a shield can make that distinction and more safely handle a dog,” Vogenberger said. “This will result in saving the lives of pets.”
“Current riot, SWAT or entry shields available to police will only fit in the trunk and usually only stop handguns,” she said.
The Vector Shield is NIJ Level 3 and stops rifle, shotgun and handgun rounds as well as knives and bats plus it stores up front in a patrol car so it is easily accessible.
“When worn on a sling and carried behind an officer, the Vector Shield is virtually unseen and looks just like part of an officer’s uniform thus reducing attention and aggression. It can be accessed in seconds at a riot,” Vogenberger said. “The safety covers are made of 3M reflective film and visually disorient active shooters adding extra protection for officers.”
“If an officer is assisting someone on the side of the road at night, the 3M reflective cover supplies an added safety feature as it makes the shield look like a road reflector,” she said. “Vector Shields are safe to use around children and are currently being used in schools by SRO officers. Vector does not advocate for guns in schools. The Vector Team advocates for shields to be used before aggressive weapons around children. Vector Shields and Vector De-Escalation training are well suited for hospitals and psychiatric wards to safely handle patients who could be a danger to themselves or others.”
Vector sells to and trains the United States Marshal Service, Department of Homeland Security Special Operations Group, the DEA, the Massachusetts State Police STOP and VFAS teams, the Connecticut State Police Narcotics Task Force, the Oregon Department of Justice, the Massachusetts DOC and a myriad of local police and sheriff’s departments across the country.
“Most Vector sales come from referrals from officers who currently use Vector Shields and training,” Vogenberger said. “Vector has a network of police officers and chiefs nationwide who support Vector’s mission of providing much needed de-escalation tools and training.”
“Wellford PD is the first to use our Shields and De-escalation training in South Carolina,” Vogenberger said. “Chief David Green of the Wellford City Police Department is the first to bring this life-saving tool and training to the beautiful state of South Carolina.”
“Chief Green has a hands-on community-oriented style of management,” she said. “His officers work hard to de-escalate tensions when they do arise to provide a safe environment for officers and the citizens of Wellford City. He has a good rapport with his officers and the public and is leading South Carolina in the aim of providing safer tools and training for officers to protect all residents. Chief Green is spearheading community safety through the use of the Vector Shield and De-escalation Training Program.”
Budgets are the only thing that stand in the way of officers receiving this life-saving instruction and much-needed tool. Each de-escalation shield with accessories is $1,311.
“The Vector Shield is about a third of the cost of the next ballistic shield up and has a higher ballistic rating than most other shields,” Vogenberger said. “Vector keeps its costs low, so the team is able to get more shields and training into the hands of officers.”
“The Wellford police department is placing six in service and will look at placing more in service after the first of the year,” Chief Green said. “My goal is to have one in every patrol car after the first of the year.”
To donate Vector Shields to the Wellford City Police Department, contact Chief Green at the Wellford City Police Department at (864) 439-2436 ext 104 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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