Local business owners buy Angel Armor vests for officers

Chase Catalano & Justin Bryson are business partners at the Front Porch Property Group, a land development company.

The duo donated $12,000 to the Capital Area Law Enforcement Foundation, or CALEF, to buy the Livingston Police Dept. officers eight Angel Armor Vests.

“I’m a veteran and former military myself so we did really well the last couple of years in the start of our business and we figured the best way to show our appreciation is to give back being that both my business partner and I are prior military,” said Catalano. “We decided the best place to do that is with our law enforcement community. I feel like they’ve been getting beat up these last couple of years in mainstream so we decided we wanted to make our money count somewhere. I reached out to Angel Armor and we wanted to see where we could make the most impact in the Livingston Parish area. He told me Livingston PD would be it.”

Each vest costs CALEF around $2,000 and since the Livingston PD needed eight vests, $12,000 did not cover the entire cost. It’s why the Livingston PD added $4,000 from their budget to the effort. The Livingston Police Dept. did not have $16,000 in their budget to buy everyone vests.

“It felt good. The chief said in the time he’s been employed at the Livingston PD, he’s never had a business owner or business entity and ever offer those types of services so it made us feel like we’re doing the right thing,” said Catalano.

“These vests are to protect our officers against all high-powered velocity weapons. Officers can’t defend themselves or protect the community and residents with a handgun while the suspects are firing high-powered rounds at them,” said Pat Englade, President of CALEF.  

CALEF started in 2016 after a deadly ambush on law enforcement. It’s a community effort to raise money to better protect the men and women in uniform. The CALEF president, Englade, is a former Baton Rouge Police chief. Thanks to the generous donations from the public in the last nearly six years, CALEF has raised enough money to buy over 2,500 vests and distribute them to officers in various agencies all around the metro Baton Rouge area.

“We are so thankful to Chase & Justin for their selfless gift. I hope they realize that every time these officers put these vests on, which I hope is all the time, they will be reminded it’s because of you two,” said Englade. “Protecting officers is something that’s become personal for me now. When I was chief, crime in general was not like it is now and a handgun was enough for officers to protect themselves. Now, unfortunately, they need better protection.”

Catalano said when he and his business partner started the company about two years ago, they decided back then, “as much as a business impact we make, we also want to make a community impact. To be honest, we’re just getting started! We’re going to come in hard.”

The officers received their vests on April 7, 2022.

Anyone wanting to donate to CALEF to continue their efforts to better protect officers, you can donate here.

“CALEF started thanks to the enormous outpouring of support for law enforcement and people wanting to help the men and women in blue. Police departments cannot afford to buy such expensive vests for all their officers because they cost so much. Yes, we have seen a decrease in donations and Covid stopped us from doing our fundraisers for nearly two years, but efforts like this from private business owners are something we love to see,” said Englade. 

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