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3.22 Payment Programs

Bulletproof Vest Partnership

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Eligibility and Guidelines
Application and Funding Process
Key Points about the BVP Program

The BVP was created for the sole purpose of purchasing bullet-resistant body armor for sworn law enforcement officers. The program is administered by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). It was enacted in 1998 by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act (Public Law 105-181).

Eligibility and Guidelines

  • Eligible jurisdictions that employ law enforcement officers may participate in this program. A jurisdiction is a State, town, city, village, borough, parish, or Indian tribe.
  • Through the BVP program, recipients are reimbursed for up to 50 percent of the cost of each unit of eligible body armor purchased for law enforcement officers.
  • Under current legislation, jurisdictions with fewer than 100,000 residents receive priority funding. Any remaining funds are distributed on a pro rata basis to jurisdictions with 100,000 residents or more.
  • In order to qualify for this reimbursement, body armor must comply with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) standards as of the date the body armor was ordered. Information pertaining to the current NIJ standards is available online at the NIJ Definition of Eligible Body Armor web page.

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Application and Funding Process

You can obtain current information and manage the entire BVP program process from application through payment using the online BVP system located at http://OJP/Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program. To participate in the BVP program, State, local, and tribal jurisdictions must follow four steps:

  • Register as a jurisdiction
  • Jurisdictions that have never participated in the BVP program can register at any time throughout the year by contacting BVP Customer Support via phone at 1-877-758-3787 or email at
  • If an eligible jurisdiction has more than one law enforcement agency (LEA), each LEA should register in the BVP system, and the application will be submitted by the jurisdiction on behalf of all of its LEAs.
  • Once registered with the BVP program, jurisdictions are responsible for regularly updating their own critical information.
  • Submit application
  • When submitting an application, jurisdictions must make sure to identify the total number, type, and projected cost of vests for all eligible, participating law enforcement officers.
  • Applications may be submitted only during the annual 6-week open application period.
  • Funding decisions are made within 3 months after the application period closes.
  • Applicants are notified via email regarding approved funding levels.
  • BVP funds are dispersed when the LEA receives the vests and the jurisdiction submits a request for payment through the BVP system.
  • Purchase vests
  • BVP funds may only be used to purchase vests that meet the current NIJ bullet-resistant body armor standards.
  • A list of vest models that meet the current NIJ standards is available at
  • Submit receipt information
  • Once vests are received, jurisdictions can submit a request for payment through the BVP System.
  • Recipients have up to 2 years from the date of the award to submit payment requests.
  • Once the payment request is submitted, BJA reviews the request for accuracy and processes payments on a monthly schedule.

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Key Points about the BVP Program
1 All purchased body armor must comply with NIJ body armor standards, which are available at the NIJ Definition of Eligible Body Armor web page.
2 BVP funds can be used to purchase only one vest per officer during the jurisdiction's stated replacement cycle.
3 BVP funds may be used toward the purchase of tactical-level vests, but if a tactical-level vest is purchased for an officer, it must be the officer's primary vest; a regular-duty vest cannot be purchased for the same officer, during the same replacement cycle, using BVP funds.
4 Beginning in fiscal year 2009, during the payment request process, jurisdictions may request, based on financial hardship, a waiver of the 50 percent match requirement. Jurisdictions that request the waiver must cite the nature of the financial hardship and maintain documentation pertaining to the hardship.
5 BJA strongly recommends that every LEA implement a mandatory body armor wear policy, if one is not currently in place. A mandatory wear concepts and issues paper and model policy are available by contacting the International Association of Chiefs of Police at
6 BJA recognizes that LEA operational and equipment needs may change. Consequently, participating agencies are not required to purchase the exact number, type, or model of vests contained in the approved application. Vests may be purchased at any threat level, make, or model and from any distributor or manufacturer, as long as the vests have been tested and found to comply with applicable NIJ ballistic or stab standards.

information iconFinancial Management Tip

Justice Assistance Grant funds also may be used to purchase vests for an agency, but they may not be used to pay for that portion of the bulletproof vest (50 percent) that is not covered by BVP funds.

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