Kim Cooper says when she saw the Adopt-A-Cop, #backingourblue, online effort that originated in Hopkins County, Texas, after the pre-planned attacks on Dallas and Baton Rouge police, she wanted to bring the program to Carter County.
“Those attacks showed us the lack of adequate armor available to our patrol officers who are always the first to arrive on scene,” Cooper explained, adding her friend, Vickie Groomer immediately joined her in the local adopt-a-cop effort. “Our mission is to bring the community together to donate lifesaving equipment to our patrol officers in Carter County for active-shooter events. The program allows for officers/deputies to receive equipment they need while also seeing the love and support from the community through the adoption process.”
The Carter County program was officially launched on Facebook, after the project obtained 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. The first goal? Level 4 rapid response vests.
“The officers and deputies in Carter County were placed up for adoption. Being adopted means that a donor paid  $370 (the price of a level 4 rapid response vest) and that money is used to purchase the adopted officer’s/deputy’s vest. The equipment is the property of the officer and not the department where they serve, which makes the program more personal,” Cooper says.
The launch effort garnered vests for 126 Carter County officers.
Cooper called the response “tremendous,” adding the reaction to the launch has led to a second equipment drive — ballistic helmets. The cost to adopt an officer and supply him or her with a helmet is $250, which is the actual cost of the equipment.
Cooper details why the helmets are important citing the Orlando, Fla. night club incident.
“Officer Michael Napolitano was shot in the head with an AR-15 rifle by the suspect.  Napolitano, survived as a result of wearing a ballistic helmet. He suffered some major cuts and bruising to his forehead, but his life was saved because the helmet took the brunt of the deadly force.”
Area residents can adopt a cop during the helmet drive by following these steps:
n Select an officer/deputy from the list available at www.facebook.com/cartercountyadoptacop
• Text/call Cooper at (903) 449-2231.or Groomer (580) 220-9275 giving the name of the officer the donor wishes to adopt
“Please make sure to let us know who you are adopting prior to taking your donation to the bank,” Cooper cautions.
• Make the donation at any Citizens Bank & Trust location.
“Please make sure to let the bank teller know you are making a donation to Carter County Adopt-A-Cop and which officer/deputy you are adopting,” Cooper urged.
To ask questions about the program contact Cooper (903) 449-2231 or Groomer at (580) 220-9275.