As police officers around the country are commemorating National Law Enforcement Week, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, and U.S. Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, R-N.J., have introduced a four-year re-authorization of their Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) program, created in 1999.
The bipartisan BVP program provides state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers with needed protection by assisting their departments with the purchase of protective equipment. The last re-authorization in 2008 will expire this fiscal year.
"Bulletproof vests save lives," Visclosky said in a statement released on Wednesday. "This grant program provides local law enforcement with vital resources to protect our communities in the safest manner possible. We owe our local officers a tremendous debt of gratitude for their commitment to protect and serve, and I am honored to once again have the opportunity to support this program."
Since 1999, over 13,000 jurisdictions across the country have participated in the BVP program with nearly $300 million in federal funds committed to support the purchase of an estimated 800,000 vests.
"There is no legislation, no government program, no grant or public-private partnership that can erase the sad fact that law enforcement officers will die," wrote Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, in a letter endorsing the reauthorization of the BVP. "They will die in the line of duty at the hands of armed and violent criminals. But this program can document more than 3,100 officers whose lives were saved because they were wearing soft body armor. On behalf of the more than 333,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you both for your support of law enforcement and this important program."