Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

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March 4, 2014

Grant helps with purchase of bulletproof vests

New bulletproof vests have been purchased for deputies with the help of a grant though the Bulletproof Vest Partnership, according to Ripley County Sheriff Tom Grills.

BVP was created by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 1998. This partnership is a unique U.S. Department of Justice initiative designed to provide a critical resource to state and local law enforcement. The U.S. Department of Justice officials are committed to improving officer safety and has undertaken research to review and analyze violent encounters and law enforcement officer deaths and injuries.

In response to concerns from the law enforcement community, DOJ officials announced an initiative to address the reliability of body armor used by law enforcement personnel and to examine the future of bullet-resistant technology and testing. As part of this initiative, the National Institute of Justice has examined Zylon®-based bullet-resistant vests (both new and used) and is reviewing the process by which bullet-resistant vests are certified.

Since 1999, the BVP program has reimbursed more than 13,000 jurisdictions, a total of $277 million in federal funds for the purchase of over 1 million vests, according to the Office of Justice programs Web site. BVP is a critical resource for state and local jurisdictions that saves lives. Based on data collected, in fiscal year 2012, protective vests were directly attributable to saving the lives of at least 33 law enforcement and corrections officers in 20 different states, an increase 13.7 percent over fiscal year 2011. At least 13 of those life-saving vests had been purchased, in part, with help from BVP funds.

Vests are rated for five years and have to be retired at the end of that period and new vests purchased. The sheriff’s office was at that expiration period last year.

Although the cost to purchase new vests topped $15,000, almost half of the money was secured through the grant request. The other half was collected from firearms application revenues.

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