• Byron Coalston (left), founder of the Cops for Cops non-profit that helps equip and train underfunded law enforcement agenceis and Kasey Allen (right), who is working to change legislation to benefit law enforcement officers, stand together in front of the The Thin Blue Line Camaro which was donated and wrapped for advertising as a way to bring money to the organization. Photo by Alexandra Cannon, Groesbeck Journal

Cops for Cops non-profit works to help law enforcement agencies statewide

By Alexandra Cannon, Staff Writer

While Kasey Allen fights for more fair legislation for law enforcement officers, Byron Coalston, founder of the Cops for Cops non-profit organization, works to bridge other gaps within law enforcement agencies statewide.

“Cops for Cops started as a Facebook page,” Coalston explained. “I'm a retired narcotics detective, I was injured in the line of duty and when I had to retire, I started a Facebook page to keep track of all of my friends and everybody that I've met throughout my career.”

The page collected quite a following, and Coalston recognized the opportunity to use the page as a platform to speak out on needs for law enforcement officers, raising money to help solve problems.

“One thing that sets us apart from most other non-profits is we're very proactive. We are reactive to when the officers are shot or injured in the line of duty and helping their families, obviously with financial assistance or a whatever help they need. If we don't provide the service, then I've got hundreds of thousands of contacts I reach out to that can get that service to them,” Coalston said. “Proactively, we go to the smaller agencies where training is not in their budget. We step in and pay to provide TCOLE training, which is the governing body for all Texas peace officers. Day to day things are going on in law enforcement that they need to keep up on and not get complacent with. We've donated body armor and firearms to departments.”

Much of the work by the non-profit is in line with changes Kasey Allen feels need to be implemented, and she met Coalston after her husband Trooper Damon Allen was killed in the line of duty.. Allen, along with Mexia Police Chief Brian Bell, Groesbeck Police Chief Chris Henson, and McLennan County Assistant District Attorney Brody Burks recently visited the Governor’s Mansion to discuss changes to legislature that would benefit law enforcement officers statewide. Though Coalston was not a part of the main coalition, he acted as an additional voice among the many who spoke to Allen regarding necessary changes to the law to protect peace officers. Coalston voiced his opinion that law enforcement agencies should be doing more to ensure officers are properly trained and equipped for the job.

“At some of your rural agencies, a lot of the times all they get is one uniform and they're responsible for everything else. From their duty belt to their pepper spray or taser, their firearm, their ammunition, everything. There are some people that just cannot afford that. I'd been in law enforcement for 18 years. I take it as an insult to put an officer out there on the street who is not 100 percent fully prepared and ready to go. We step in and we make sure that that officer is ready.”

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Groesbeck Journal! You can also subscribe online or call 254-729-5103.

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