|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||BJA||TUESDAY, AUGUST 8, 2000||202/307-0703|
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HELPS PROTECT LIVES OF POLICE OFFICERS
Online Assistance Program Provides Help For Bullet Proof Vests Purchases
WASHINGTON, D.C.-- The Justice Department has assisted over 3,500 law enforcement agencies across the nation obtain bulletproof vests this fiscal year. Through the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is distributing $25 million to jurisdictions nationwide to provide for up to half the cost of bullet-resistant vests.
"Public safety officers face countless risks in their day-to-day duties," said BJA Director Nancy Gist. "With these grants, we are able to provide a measure of safety to these individuals and the communities they protect."
Funding for over 180,000 bulletproof vests have been provided to state, county and local law enforcement agencies in the program's two years. Each jurisdiction may purchase one vest per officer per year, and all vests must meet or exceed standards developed by the National Institute of Justice. MORE
BJA designed a paperless process and the entire transaction is accomplished via the Internet. Any law enforcement agency or the CEO of any jurisdiction may gain access from any computer any time of day. Through the Internet system, agencies with personnel eligible for vests can browse vest models and get information on them through the system. They can also communicate with other agencies to find out what types of vests they prefer and discuss their experiences ordering vests.
BJA also established a toll-free number to help agencies ordering vests navigate the system. Rural jurisdictions without Internet access are linked through to the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement (NCRLE), which helps jurisdictions find Internet access or processes their applications by phone. This fiscal year, NCRLE processed the applications of 27 jurisdictions that were unable to locate Internet service.
The Bulletproof Vest Program was authorized by the Bulletproof Vest Grant Partnership Act of 1998. The act was the result of a bipartisan effort in both the House and Senate and authorized $25 million for Fiscal Years 1999 through 2001.
The following are Websites about the program and agencies involved:
Bulletproof Vests: http://vests.ojp.gov.
For additional information about the bulletproof vest initiative, contact Sheila Jerusalem or Doug Johnson at 202/307-0703.