OJP Press Release letterhead

Monday, June 30, 2003
Office of Justice Programs
Contact: Sheila Jerusalem


    WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Over 5,700 law enforcement and corrections agencies across the nation will receive funding for over 78,000 bulletproof vests this fiscal year through the Justice Department's Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Program. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a component of the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP), is distributing over $24 million to jurisdictions nationwide to provide for up to half of the cost of bullet-resistant and stab-resistant vests.

    "Keeping law enforcement officers safe as they protect the public is essential," said Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Deborah J. Daniels. "The Department of Justice is proud of its partnership with local law enforcement in helping to protect them with high-quality bulletproof vests as they serve their communities."

    Since the program's inception, Justice Department funding has assisted communities with the purchase of over 334,000 bulletproof vests. The program, which has had more jurisdictions apply each year, received 1400 more applicants than last year. Jurisdictions from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands applied for funding.

    Under the initiative, each jurisdiction may purchase one vest per officer per year, and all vests must meet or exceed standards developed by OJP's research and development component, the National Institute of Justice. The BVP program provides up to 50 percent of the cost of each jurisdiction's bulletproof vest purchases with the jurisdictions providing matching funds.

    The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program is run via OJP's Internet-based Grant Management System, enabling law enforcement agencies or jurisdiction officials to gain access from any computer at any time during the application period. BJA also has a toll-free number to assist agencies using the application system. Rural jurisdictions without direct Web access were able to work through the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement (NCRLE), which helped those agencies find Internet access or process their applications by phone.

    The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises 5 component bureaus and 2 offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, and the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education. Information about OJP programs, publications, and conferences is available on the OJP Web site, www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

# # #