May 13 2008

Shelby Fights for Law Enforcement Safety

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS), today announced introduction of bipartisan legislation that will ease financial hardships for local law enforcement agencies purchasing bulletproof vests for their law enforcement officers.

“Each day our state and local law enforcement officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities,” said Shelby.  “Regardless of a community’s financial status, we must ensure that our law enforcement officers have the equipment necessary to protect themselves.  This legislation will make certain that our law enforcement officers are protected while they are on the front lines of local communities protecting our citizens.”

This legislation, introduced with Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), will reauthorize an existing matching grant program to help local jurisdictions purchase armor vests for use by law enforcement officers.  Under the Bulletproof Vest Program, the federal government pays up to 50 percent of the costs of the vests for state and local law enforcement officers for three years at $50 million.

Since 1999, over 11,900 jurisdictions have participated in the BVP Program, with $173 million in federal funds committed to support the purchase of an estimated 450,000 vests.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science included $25 million for the Bulletproof Vest Program in the fiscal year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act.