The Leahy Letter -- Bulletproof Vest Program Special Edition

Senator Leahy
2012-11-29 21:43:37
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The Office of Senator Patrick Leahy

Saving Lives Every Day

The numbers tell the story and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program has saved thousands of officers' lives over the years. In the photo above, Sgt. David Spicer of Dover, Delaware, tells how his life was saved by his bulletproof vest when he was shot at point-blank range while pursuing a suspect from a crime scene.

One Million Vests And Counting

On Tuesday, Senator Leahy, Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), and officials from law enforcement highlighted the success of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program which Senator Leahy announced crossing the threshold of issuing more than one million lifesaving vests to state and local law enforcement officers throughout the country, including more than 3,000 across Vermont. Above, Senator Leahy displays a bulletproof vest like the million issued through his program. To his left stands Chief Bernadette DiPino of the Ocean City, Md., police department and to his right is Senator Coons.

Protecting Those Who Serve

In announcing the million vest milestone this week, Senator Leahy said, "Bulletproof vests save lives in rural areas like those in Vermont, just as they do in more urban areas. This is a milestone that speaks to the success of this program, and the strength of the law enforcement partnership between the states and the federal government. " To read Senator Leahy's full remarks please click here

The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program

In 1999, Senator Leahy and former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) coauthored legislation to establish the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program. Leahy successfully steered legislation to renew the program’s charter through the Judiciary Committee in May. Despite broad bipartisan support of the successful and popular program, the reauthorization bill remains stalled in the Senate, blocked by anonymous holds. The program was most recently renewed in 2008, through Senator Leahy's efforts, and its charter lapsed at the end of September.

Cities and rural communities alike have benefitted from the program since it was first enacted in 1999. In Vermont nearly $840,000 in grant money has helped to supply 3,930 vests.  According to the Government Accountability Office, $247 million has provided in reimbursement funding nationwide for the purchase of more than one million vests from 1999 through 2011. Approximately 3,000 law enforcement officers’ lives have been saved by protective body armor since 1987, according to the GAO.
 
Senator Leahy said, “Today an officer’s bulletproof vest is a piece of equipment as indispensable as a side arm and radio. This program has helped to bring about the increase in the awareness and use of this lifesaving equipment.  Police work is hard work, and often it also is dangerous work. These brave officers protect our communities, and these vests help protect them.  There are at least a million reasons for Americans to feel good about what they have done to help protect our law enforcers. This is a milestone that speaks to the success of this program, and to the strength of the law enforcement partnership between the states and the federal government.”  

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United States Senate
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Burlington Office

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Montpelier Office

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