Tester, Walsh co-sponsor bill to better protect law enforcement officers
Senators’ bill will help agencies buy life-saving bulletproof vests
(U.S. SENATE) – With National Police Week approaching, Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh today backed legislation to help local law-enforcement agencies purchase bulletproof vests.
The bill will reauthorize a grant initiative that expired in 2012. Before it expired, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program helped more than 13,000 state and local law enforcement agencies buy more than one million bulletproof vests since 1999.
The Senate attempted to pass Tester and Walsh’s bill today, but Republicans blocked it from being considered.
“Bulletproof vests have saved more than 3,000 officers’ lives since 1987,” Tester said. “The men and women who enforce our laws should always have the best protection available. We need to make sure more officers can protect themselves as they protect our families.”
“The law enforcement officers who keep our communities safe require the necessary equipment to do their jobs and protect themselves,” Walsh said. “Providing our law enforcement officers with the safest equipment possible should be our top priority. I will always stand up to protect our men and women who put themselves in harm’s way for us.”
Many law enforcement associations support the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Reauthorization Act, including the Montana Police Protective Association.
“As police officers, we know the risks we take every day when we clock in for work,” said John Schaffer, President of the Montana Police Protective Association. “Addressing this unnecessary hurdle will limit the casualties and increase safety in our communities.”
This bill would provide nearly $90,000 to help purchase more than 270 bulletproof vests for Montana law enforcement agencies.
Tester and Walsh’s bill renews the initiative through 2018. It also improves the program by making sure vests meet certain performance standards, by requiring agencies to implement ‘mandatory-wear’ policies for officers and by encouraging the use of fitted vests.