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house Bill H.R. 2379

Should the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program be Permanently Reauthorized?

Argument in favor

The Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program is an important source of money to help law enforcement agencies purchase life-saving bulletproof vests. Permanently authorizing it will ensure that law enforcement agencies across the U.S. can buy necessary safety equipment for their officers.

SneakyPete's Opinion
路路路
05/13/2019
馃憤馃徎馃憤馃徎 The Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program 馃憤馃徎馃憤馃徎 This bill would permanently reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program at $30 million a year in FY 2020 and each year thereafter. The BVP has provided grants to local law enforcement agency to help with the purchase of bulletproof vests for more than 20 years. The Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program is an important source of money to help law enforcement agencies purchase life-saving bulletproof vests. Permanently authorizing it will ensure that law enforcement agencies across the U.S. can buy necessary safety equipment for their officers. SneakyPete..... 馃憤馃徎馃憤馃徎BVP馃憤馃徎馃憤馃徎 5.13.19.....
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Thomas's Opinion
路路路
05/14/2019
We need to protect the ones who protect us!!
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DrCindyBean's Opinion
路路路
05/14/2019
Yes. Reauthoize the bullet proof vest partnership.
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Argument opposed

In 2012, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the BVP program wasn鈥檛 making good use of its funds, suggesting that the program was either run inefficiently or overfunded. Independent of the BVP, there鈥檚 also evidence suggesting that having officers wear bulletproof vests may unnecessarily escalate situations and cause physical harm to the officers themselves.

burrkitty's Opinion
路路路
05/13/2019
... in perpetuity?!? Nope nope nope. There鈥檚 not a single government program that should be funded in perpetuity. That鈥檚 asking for trouble. 5-10 years at a time? Sure. But every program needs oversight, a occasional check up, and the ability to adjust. Our bloated military budget is a good example of what can go wrong when no one bothers with oversight.
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jimK's Opinion
路路路
05/14/2019
Permanent authorizations last a very long time- especially near the end. If you walk the halls of many mid size city governments, you'll see dark offices with doors labeled with once-in-vouge topics. Cities create these offices to permanently address some federal requirement or issue which is no longer needed. Generally these offices are pay-rolled to political friends who know there is no reason to show up- they will still get paid. Supporting our police is a very good thing to do. Permanent authorizations are an awfully long and open-ended commitment which can indirectly lead to waste and abuse. Authorizations such as these need to periodically reviewed to ensure that they are still proper, particularly since future technologies and evolving law enforcement methods may point to better programs to enable/protect them.
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Kman's Opinion
路路路
05/14/2019
No grants should be made permanent.... evaluate annually.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate Passed May 16th, 2019
    Passed by Voice Vote
  • The house Passed May 14th, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 400 Yea / 9 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedApril 29th, 2019

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What is House Bill H.R. 2379?

This bill would permanently reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program at $30 million a year in FY 2020 and each year thereafter. The BVP has provided grants to local law enforcement agency to help with the purchase of bulletproof vests for more than 20 years.

Impact

Local police departments; police officers; bulletproof vest purchases for local law enforcement; the Dept. of Justice; and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2379

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable. However, assuming appropriation of the stated dollar amount in this bill, this bill would cost $30 million a year to implement.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) introduced this bill to reauthorize the life-saving Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program at $30 million a year in perpetuity:

鈥淭he brave men and women who place their lives on the line to protect our communities deserve every ounce of support from their government. For law enforcement officers who face daily dangerous situations, bulletproof vests save lives. Making this important grant permanent so law enforcement officers can have access to vests is one of the most sensible policies Congress can pursue.鈥

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), sponsor of this bill鈥檚 Senate companion, adds:

鈥淭his is a partnership that makes a lifesaving difference. I hear about its importance all the time, across the country, from officers who have this protection because of this program. That鈥檚 why I鈥檝e fought for this program for more than two decades. Protective vests are perhaps the most tangible support Congress can provide for our nation鈥檚 law enforcement officers. This legislation will outfit hundreds of thousands of police officers with protective vests. It will save lives. And I鈥檓 hopeful that Congress can come together to renew and strengthen the program once again.鈥

The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) supports this bill. In a letter to the House of Representatives, FOP president Chuck Canterbury writes:

鈥淚 am writing on behalf of the membership of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our strong support for H.R. 2379, the 鈥楤ulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Reauthorization Act.鈥 The measure would permanently reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) program that was created with the strong support of the FOP in 1998鈥攎ore than two decades ago. This program began with a very simple goal: to increase the number of law enforcement officers wearing soft body armor by providing matching Federal funding to State and local law enforcement agencies purchasing this equipment. This legislation would permanently authorize this vital and life-saving program. The brave men and women in law enforcement will always need anti-ballistic protection and the BCP program has proven to be one of the most successful officer safety programs in the Federal government. Since 1999, more than 13,000 jurisdictions received a total of $467 million in Federal funds for the purchase of near 1.35 million vests鈥 While we know there is no way to end the deadly risks inherent in a law enforcement career, we must also do everything possible to ensure that officers who put their lives on the line everyday also put on a vest. Body armor is one of the most important pieces of equipment an officer can have and often means the difference between life and death. It is critical that this program be permanently reauthorized so that it can continue to make these vests available to more officers in every region of the country. We urge its swift passage.鈥

In a 2012 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, David Maurer, who directed the Government Accountability Office鈥檚 (GAO) efforts to examine and review the Depts. of Homeland Security and Justice at the time, testified that the GAO had found the BVP was carrying a 鈥渟ignificant balance鈥 in excess of $27 million. Additionally, GAO found that $14 million had been previously deobligated from the program in 2009 to pay off a Congressional rescission to the Dept. of Justice鈥檚 budget. In total, these funds represented $41 million in funds for the BVP that went unused from 2002-2012.

When police officers wear body armor, they need to be aware of the image they project when wearing this equipment. According to Officer Bill Hummel, a department spokesman in the Aurora, Colorado police department, showing up at a scene in 鈥渇ull military-style gear鈥 can escalate some situations.

There may also be some bodily harms associated with officers鈥 wearing of body armor. In a 2017 article in the Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers also found that body armor constitutes an 鈥additional external load鈥 that is associated with 鈥increased rates of injury and reduced operational capabilities in tactical populations.鈥 In their research, the researchers found that body armor 鈥does have significant physical performance and biomechanical impacts on the wearer, including: a) increased ratings of perceived exertion and increased time to complete functional tasks, b) decreased work capability (indicated by deterioration in fitness test scores), c) decreased balance and stability, and d) increased ground reaction forces.鈥

This bill has 12 bipartisan House cosponsors, including six Democrats and six Republicans. A Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with the support of 18 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including nine Democrats and seven Republicans, in the 116th Congress.

A number of police organizations support this bill. They include the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Sheriffs' Association, the Major County Sheriffs鈥 Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Tactical Officers Association, and the Sergeants Benevolent Association.


Of NoteBulletproof vests for law enforcement are costly and subject to wear and tear, leading many law enforcement agencies across the U.S. to struggle to maintain necessary protective gear. For over 20 years, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program has helped law enforcement agencies ensure that police officers are equipped with the latest technologies to ensure their safety.

Since its inception in 1999 after a tragic 1997 shootout along the Vermont-New Hampshire border in which federal law enforcement officers were equipped with bulletproof vests while state and local officers from Vermont and New Hampshire weren鈥檛 (and two state troopers were killed), the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program has awarded over 13,000 jurisdictions a total of $467 million in matching federal funds to help purchase over 1.3 million vests. Congress has renewed the program five times. The current authorization expires in 2020.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Onfokus)

AKA

To reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program.

Official Title

To reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program.

    馃憤馃徎馃憤馃徎 The Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program 馃憤馃徎馃憤馃徎 This bill would permanently reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program at $30 million a year in FY 2020 and each year thereafter. The BVP has provided grants to local law enforcement agency to help with the purchase of bulletproof vests for more than 20 years. The Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program is an important source of money to help law enforcement agencies purchase life-saving bulletproof vests. Permanently authorizing it will ensure that law enforcement agencies across the U.S. can buy necessary safety equipment for their officers. SneakyPete..... 馃憤馃徎馃憤馃徎BVP馃憤馃徎馃憤馃徎 5.13.19.....
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    ... in perpetuity?!? Nope nope nope. There鈥檚 not a single government program that should be funded in perpetuity. That鈥檚 asking for trouble. 5-10 years at a time? Sure. But every program needs oversight, a occasional check up, and the ability to adjust. Our bloated military budget is a good example of what can go wrong when no one bothers with oversight.
    Like (67)
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    Permanent authorizations last a very long time- especially near the end. If you walk the halls of many mid size city governments, you'll see dark offices with doors labeled with once-in-vouge topics. Cities create these offices to permanently address some federal requirement or issue which is no longer needed. Generally these offices are pay-rolled to political friends who know there is no reason to show up- they will still get paid. Supporting our police is a very good thing to do. Permanent authorizations are an awfully long and open-ended commitment which can indirectly lead to waste and abuse. Authorizations such as these need to periodically reviewed to ensure that they are still proper, particularly since future technologies and evolving law enforcement methods may point to better programs to enable/protect them.
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    We need to protect the ones who protect us!!
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    No grants should be made permanent.... evaluate annually.
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    With the number of police officers being shot, this bill is necessary.
    Like (7)
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    I thought the idea was for the public not to be afraid of law enforcement.
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    Yes. Reauthoize the bullet proof vest partnership.
    Like (7)
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    Protect our police officers! The media has created a war on our police and needs to be held accountable
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    It needs to be reauthorized but should be reevaluated at regular intervals.
    Like (6)
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    Those that oppose don't have a kid who's in law enforcement, obviously. The argument against is totally wrong. If a vest saves one life, it's worth it.
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    The Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program is an important source of money to help law enforcement agencies purchase life-saving bulletproof vests. Permanently authorizing it will ensure that law enforcement agencies across the U.S. can buy necessary safety equipment for their officers.
    Like (6)
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    Of course, since the Democrats insist on making excuses for criminals and coddling them, this would be money well spent!!
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    We want our police officers protected with bullet-proof vests. They are essential.
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    only if no more militarization of our local police.
    Like (5)
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    Yes, officers and other individuals in law enforcement should benefit from the protections a bulletproof vest provides.
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    No, stop militarizing our police force and create a greater gap between people and enforcement forces which leads to more social and psychological problems.
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    As a former police officer, I believe this is a waste of taxpayer money. I had to purchase my own firearm that I carried on duty AND my own bulletproof vest. Pay your police officers a living wage and they won't need someone to purchase their gear.
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    This program literally saves lives!
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    Make Obama explain why he removed $14 million from the fund.
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