FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† BJA

Monday, May 14, 2001†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 202/307-0703

 

POLICE BUY OVER 190,000 BULLETPROOF VESTS

WITH JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FUNDING HELP

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Nearly 4,500 law enforcement and corrections agencies across the nation have obtained partial funding for bulletproof vests this fiscal year through the Justice Departmentís Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program. The Departmentís Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is distributing $25 million to jurisdictions nationwide through FY 2001 to provide for up to half the cost of bullet-resistant vests.

"Keeping our law enforcement officers safe is of utmost importance,"Ashcroft said."I'm pleased to be providing our communities with the resources they need to help ensure safety, and I look forward to serving even more jurisdictions than last year."

The Departmentís program will help state, county and local law enforcement and corrections agencies purchase over 190,000 bulletproof vests this year.Since the program began 3 years ago, Justice Department funding has assisted with the purchase of over 500,000 vests.The program, which has had more jurisdictions apply each year, showed a substantial increasethis year, with over 25 percent more applicants.

Under the initiative, 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 (NIJ).For the first time, jurisdictions were also able topurchase NIJ-approved stab‑resistant vests.NIJ issued a standard for stab-resistant body armor in September 2000 and provided more than 60 stab-resistant models for consideration. Department funding will help with the purchase of nearly 24,000 stab-resistant vests, with nearly 17,000 going to the nationís correctional facilities.

The Bulletproof Vest Program is run via the Internet, enabling law enforcement agencies or jurisdiction officials to gain access from any computer at any time. Eligible personnel can browse the Website and get information on vest models, as well as discuss perferred types of vests with other agencies.

BJA also has a toll-free number to assist agencies use the application system. Rural jurisdictions without direct Web access are able to work through the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement (NCRLE), which helps those agencies find Internet access or processes their applications by phone.NCRLE has processed applications for 27 jurisdictions that were unable to locate Internet service.†††††††††††††††

The Bulletproof Vest Program was first established by the Bulletproof Vest Grant Partnership Act of 1998.The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant (P.L. 106-517) enacted last

year, authorizes funding three more years, from 2002 to 2004.It provides priority funding for jurisdictions with populations under 100,000 and increases the authorized funding level to $50 million each year. The following are Websites about the program and agencies involved:

Bulletproof Vests:†††††††† ††††††††††† http://vests.ojp.gov.

BJA:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA.

OJP:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

For additional information about the bulletproof vest initiative, contact Sheila Jerusalem

at 202-307-0703.

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