Have you ever took a bullet to the chest while wearing a bulletproof vest? The obvious is no, but there are men and women in our country who serve to protect that did. Police officers risk their well being on a daily basis, especially when weapons are involved. They are not only fighting criminals, now they are battling to keep the Bulletproof Vest Partnership funding alive. The president announced a low-budget 2014 fiscal year, and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant is in desperate need of funding. Without the BVP, law enforcement jurisdictions across the nation will be unable to purchase necessary life saving bulletproof armor.
The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program is a U.S. Department of Justice initiative enacted in 1998 to provide critical funding for bullet resistant body armor to local, state, and tribal law enforcement officers. The BVP program has awarded over $375 million to over 13,000 jurisdictions by assisting them to purchase more than 1.1 million bulletproof vests.
Surviving officer, John Calhoun, from Harris County in Houston was shot in the chest by an armed man. A bulletproof vest that he was wearing while on duty saved his life. An article in the Houston Chronicle stated, “Many officers with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office do not have any body armor at all, or are using damaged or outdated equipment, prompting the county to draw up a funding plan to buy hundreds of bulletproof vests for its law enforcement agencies.” There are unfortunate law enforcers that either do not own bulletproof vests or are equipped with one that is outdated.
Congress recently restored funding for the BVP program, according to a congress immediate news release on January 17. Senator of Delaware, Chris Coons, who is a member of the Senate Budget Committee, voted for the federal bill of $22.5 million. Coons was always in favor for the program. He stood aside 13 different law enforcements on the step of the New Castle County Courthouse, where a 68 year old gunman shot at police officers, Steven Rinehart and Michael Manley. The two officers were also wearing bulletproof armor. Senator Coons said, “We should be doing everything we can to keep them safe, too.With many police departments facing shrinking budgets, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership makes these vests – which can cost more than $500 each — more affordable, ensuring that officers are outfitted with the best protection possible. I am thankful that the funding in this bill will allow this critical program to continue to save lives.”
People are in lost when one comment questioned the under-budget with, “Why are they driving tahoes (as patrol cars)?” People do realize this subsidizing program is federally funded, meaning their tax dollars pay for other jurisdiction’s services aside from their own local county. The same commentator said on the Houston Chronicles, “Also, why rely on the Feds for funding? Should Harris County residents pay for Seattle police equipment? Does any officer in Harris County perform a federal role?” It is not logical to pay for someone else’s protection when the services are not being rendered on to you.
The BVP does in fact supply police officers with necessary bullet resistant body equipment after a processed application is awarded. The program overview covers applicant eligibility, definition of law enforcement officer, funded usage period, small jurisdiction funding priority, and the mandatory wear policy. The Bureau of Justice Assistance are requiring a written policy that states officers who are issued a vest to wear it while on duty. Clearly the BJA is efficiently distributing funds to departments in absolute need.
What is the income source of the Bulletproof Partnership? Will aid properly adjust in the near future? How will congress and the President cooperate, so our nation’s law enforcement will not have to deal with economic disaster?
U.S. Department Of Justice, BJA Fact Sheet, ojp.gov, May 2014. online, http://ojp.gov/bvpbasi/docs/BVP_FactSheet.pdf
Collier, Kiah, “Some County Law Officers Lack Bulletproof Vest”. Houston Chronicle, Aug. 18, 2014. online, http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Some-county-lawmen-lack-bulletproof-vests-5696432.php
Arizona Fraternal Order of Peace, Senator Urges Support of Bulletproof Vest Subsidy Program, Aug. 2014. online, http://azfop.com/news/arizona/senator-urges-support-of-bulletproof-vest-subsidy-program/