WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $22.5 million in grant funding for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership, a program through the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs (OJP) that provides funding for local and state law enforcement to acquire bulletproof vests for officers. The grant funding was included in the Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill, which the committee approved by a 30-1 vote. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration. Brown led the bipartisan effort to secure full funding for the program with support from state and national law enforcement organizations.
“While the rest of us run away from danger, law enforcement runs toward it,” said Brown. “Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line each day to protect us, and this funding is an important investment that will help protect those who work every day to keep Ohio communities safe.”
The funding will be administered by OJP to local law enforcement agencies in order to purchase bulletproof vests for officers. According to OJP, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership has helped more than 13,000 jurisdictions purchase more than one million vests.
Brown worked with several Ohio and national law enforcement organizations including, the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association, National Fraternal Order of Police, National Sheriffs’ Association, National Tactical Officers Association, National Association of Police Organizations, Major Cities Chief’s Association, Major County Sheriffs’ Association, Sergeants’ Benevolent Association, and the National Narcotics Officers’ Association.
The Senate Appropriations Committee also approved more than $400 million in funding for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne JAG), which Brown helped secure. The Byrne JAG program provides grant funding for local law enforcement agencies to fund various programs including, drug treatment and enforcement programs, crime prevention and education programs, and crime victim and witness programs. The funding is administered through DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Brown has taken the lead on bipartisan legislation in support of law enforcement officers and their families and has been a vocal proponent of providing federal resources necessary to protect officers as they work to keep Ohio communities safe.
As law enforcement work to stop the flow of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl into the United States, the Ohio FOP along with several state and national law enforcement organizations have endorsed Brown’s (D-OH) bipartisan legislation, the INTERDICT Act, to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) keep fentanyl out of the country.
In May, following an Ohio police officer’s accidental overdose after coming into contact with fentanyl in the field, Brown wrote to the Department of Justice (DOJ) urging the agency to speed up the distribution of federal funding for the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Grant Program, which provides funding to police departments to train first-responders as they deal with opioid related incidents. The program was created as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which Brown supported.
Additionally, Brown has several bipartisan bills to provide new support to law enforcement officers and their families.
Brown’s bills would:
- Put pressure on the Department of Justice to speed up claims processing so families of disabled officers or fallen officers get the benefits they are owed more quickly.
- Authorize police departments to use certain federal grant funding to hire veterans as law enforcement officers.
- Help law enforcement agencies establish or enhance mental health care services, like peer mentoring pilot programs and crisis hotlines, for their officers.
- Increase access to federal scholarship dollars for the children of public safety officers killed in the line of duty.