House Approves $32 Million for Bulletproof Vest Program

Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, R-N.J., released the following statement regarding Congress’ approval of his bulletproof vest program:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo, R-N.J.,  applauded the House’s approval of funding for the continuation of his bulletproof vest program within H.R. 5672, the House’s “Fiscal Year 2007 Science-State-Justice-Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.” During the committee process, LoBiondo was successful in his efforts to increase the program’s funding to $20 million – a 50.9 percent increase, or $10,180,000, over the administration’s budget request. During floor consideration of the bill, the total funding for the program rose to $32 million. The House approved the annual spending bill 393 to 23.

“This funding is great news for law enforcement officers in South Jersey and across the country. I have long believed that when police officers are issued a badge and a gun, they should also be issued a protective vest,” said LoBiondo, who co-authored the 1998 legislation creating the bulletproof vest program. “Since 1999, law enforcement officers in 11,900 jurisdictions nationwide have been provided with nearly 450,000 new bulletproof vests. The increased funding that the House has approved for the bulletproof vest program will further protect those outstanding policemen and women who keep our communities safe.”

Furthermore, LoBiondo secured language that would instruct the Department of Justice to designate that law enforcement jurisdictions in South Jersey were represented when spending priorities are determined and law enforcement-related funding awarded during Fiscal Year 2007. It is left to the discretion of the Justice Department to determine the amount of funding to be awarded. Specifically, the South Jersey spending priorities are:

  • Funding under the Byrne Discretionary Grants Program to be shared by the Atlantic County Sheriff’s office and the Cape May County Sheriff’s office. It is expected that this funding will be used by the Sheriffs’ offices to implement the Children’s Identification and Location Database (CHILD) Project – a secure nationwide network and registry, maintained by the Nation’s Missing Children Organization, to locate and positively identify missing children and adults with iris biometric recognition technology.
  • Funding under the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program for Cape May County.  It is expected that this funding will be used by the Prosecutor’s Office for the purchase and installation of a software program to link together the criminal databases of the county’s municipalities to that of the state and federal government.

    “The County continues to strengthen its communications and coordination between municipalities and the State. This federal funding will significantly help in those operations,” said Cape May County Freeholder Dan Beyel. “We are certainly appreciative of Congressman LoBiondo’s continued efforts on behalf of law enforcement.”

  • Funding under COPS Program for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. It is expected that this funding will be used by the Sheriff’s Office to install lap top computers in their patrol cars. This will enable their officers to have instant access to widespread information and allow for more efficient communications.

    “I was racking my brain to find a way to fund this program which is certainly needed to safeguard my men out in the field. This is a great idea and will definitely help,” said Cumberland County Sheriff Mike Barruzza. “I really appreciate Congressman LoBiondo’s efforts as he continues to look out for all of us.”

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