Sheriffs asked to give excess gear to Israel

va flagBy Morgan Sweeney

(The Center Square) — Attorney General Jason Miyares has enlisted the help of the commonwealth’s 123 sheriff’s departments by asking for expired or surplus gear that can be donated to the Israeli military.

“I am shocked and grieved by the senseless terrorist attacks on Israel by the Hamas terrorist organization. The loss of innocent life and disregard for human rights is painfully tragic to see,” Miyares wrote in the letter.

Miyares asked for “body armor, protective gear, and tactical equipment.”

Some offices are unable to contribute, though they support the initiative, like the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department, which gave several hundred vests to the Ukrainian war effort last year.

“Our office supports the attorney general’s call for donations… but we do not have any material in inventory at this time,” Thomas Julia, a spokesperson for the office, told The Center Square in an email.

Others can give. As of early Wednesday afternoon, 20 departments had committed to donating equipment less than 24 hours after the initiative went out, according to Victoria LaCivita, a spokeswoman for Miyares’ office.

Because the offices operate more independently and thus can often make decisions more quickly than police departments, which must seek approval from other local authorities, they can more easily contribute in situations like this.

The total shipping costs will depend on the amount of gear Miyares’ office receives, but the office is working with nonprofits and Israeli officials to cover the expenses, LaCivita told The Center Square.

Last week, the National Sheriff’s Association released a statement condemning “in the strongest of terms” Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel and designating Friday, Oct. 13, a day to stand in solidarity with the Jewish nation rather than a day to rally with Hamas, as Hamas had appointed it “General Mobilization Day.”

“Every Sheriff and the NSA rejects this in no uncertain terms. Instead, we encourage law enforcement of the United States to use [Oct. 13] as a day to stand with law enforcement and against terror of all kinds,” said President of the National Sheriffs’ Association Greg Champagne.

The initiative by the attorney general’s office comes after multiple expressions of support for Israel from Miyares and Gov. Glenn Youngkin.