Dec 20 2007

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 protecting us.”

This legislation, introduced with Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.), will allow the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance within the Department of Justice to grant waivers or reductions in the match requirements for bulletproof vest awards to state and local law enforcement agencies that demonstrate fiscal hardship.

Since 1999, the Bulletproof Vest Program has provided $173 million to purchase about 500,000 vests in more than 11,500 jurisdictions nationwide.  The program funds up to 50 percent of the cost of replacing or purchasing new vests. The program is required to fully fund the 50 percent of requested vest needs for jurisdictions with populations below 100,000, and the remaining funds are distributed to jurisdictions of over 100,000.

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