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Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

BULLETPROOF VEST PARTNERSHIP GRANT ACT OF 2008 -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 27, 2008)


* Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Madam Speaker, as a proud cosponsor of this bill I urge its approval by the House.

* The bill will extend through fiscal year 2012 the highly successful grant program for armor vests for law enforcement officers.

* The program was originally established in 1998 through enactment of legislation sponsored by Colorado's Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Since then, over 11,900 jurisdictions have participated in the program, with $173 million in Federal funds committed to support the purchase of an estimated 450,000 vests.

* For example, in fiscal year 2007, 60 separate jurisdictions in Colorado received more than $352,000 to assist with the purchase of 1,883 vests.

* And while of course the most vests were purchased by the largest law enforcement agencies--570 by the city and county of Denver, 344 by the State of Colorado, 131 by Adams County and 45 by EI Paso County--the program also assisted many smaller agencies as well, including those in Hinsdale County, Moffat County, Federal Heights, Glenwood Springs, and Durango.

* Police officers from across our State have told me the program has been a great success, improving the safety and security of American law enforcement officers and better enabling them to do their job. And while President Bush's budgets have repeatedly neglected to request the full funding authorized for the program, Congress has stepped up and recognized its importance and appropriated the funds needed to keep it strong.

* Bulletproof vests are expensive but essential. No officer should be without one and they should be basic equipment made available to officers when we ask them to perform dangerous jobs. If we can afford to pay for training and equipment for Iraqi police--and we indeed are paying for that--I think we can afford to help pay for bulletproof vests for the officers who protect Americans here at home.

* So, Madam Speaker, I urge approval of this bill, to renew and extend the authorization for this very important program.

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