House Approves Lynch Amendment To Increase Funding For Bulletproof Vests

Jul 6, 2006

On Wednesday June 28th, the House of Representatives voted to approve an amendment offered by Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) to increase funding for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) by $12 million.  Lynch’s amendment to the FY2007 Science-State-Justice-Commerce Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5672) was approved by an overwhelming bipartisan majority today.  The measure was co-authored by Republican Vito J. Fossella from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />New York.

Congressman Lynch said, "According to the National Association of Police Organizations, almost 3,000 law enforcement officers have survived shootings thanks to bulletproof vests.  We know that body armor saves lives, period.  The problem that many towns and cities face, in our districts and across the nation, is that of cost.  With budgetary constraints at the state and local levels, many communities are simply unable to purchase this life-saving equipment on their own.  With this program we give communities the opportunity to buy bulletproof vests for their law enforcement officers and thereby provide much-needed protection for those in this dangerous profession.”

The Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP), created by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 1998 is a unique U.S. Department of Justice initiative designed to provide a critical resource to state and local law enforcement.  Since 1999, over 11,900 jurisdictions have participated in the BVP Program, with $173 million in federal funds committed to support the purchase of an estimated 450,000 vests. The Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) administers the BVP Program.

Lynch’s amendment was supported by the National Association of Police Organizations, which represents 238,000 rank-and-file police officers from across the United States, and the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents 324,000 members.

Thomas Nee, President of both the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association and the National Association of Police Organizations, said, "I want to thank Congressman Lynch for his continued leadership and for his unwavering support of America’s law enforcement community.  Congressman Lynch’s amendment will provide the resources police officers need to defend themselves against the deadly assaults which have become far too commonplace in America.”

  

William Johnson, Executive Director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said, "On behalf of rank-and-file law enforcement officers from across the United States, NAPO thanks Congressman Lynch for his effective leadership on this vital issue.  Because of Stephen Lynch's commitment to America's police, our brother and sister officers are safer today.” 

The full text of Congressman Lynch’s statement on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of his amendment follows:

Each day, our state and local law enforcement personnel -- over 800,000 brave men and women nationwide -- put their lives on the line in order to ensure that we as Americans are safe and protected.  I believe that we in this chamber owe it to them to ensure that they have access to the best equipment available.  That’s why Congress created the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program in 1999.  Since the program’s inception, over 11,500 jurisdictions have participated, purchasing over 450,000 vests nationwide.  Almost every Congressional district across this nation has benefited from the Vest Partnership Program.  In Massachusetts alone, over 34,000 vests have been purchased through this program.  Unfortunately, it is estimated that over 200,000 vests may need to be replaced due to tests showing that Zylon-based vests fail to provide the intended level of ballistic resistance.

 

According to the National Association of Police Organizations, almost 3,000 law enforcement officers have survived shootings thanks to bulletproof vests.  We know that body armor saves lives, period.  The problem that many towns and cities face, in my district and across the nation, is that of cost.  With budgetary constraints at the state and local levels, many communities are simply unable to purchase this life-saving equipment on their own.  With this program we give communities the opportunity to buy bulletproof vests for their law enforcement officers and thereby provide some protection for those in this dangerous profession.

 

I do believe that our state and local law enforcement professionals should be fully equipped and that’s why I ask that my colleagues in the House support this amendment.

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