The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced that 111 Indiana law enforcement agencies, including two in Jackson County, have received a total of $377,409 to help purchase ballistic or stab-resistant body armor.
Brownstown will receive $1,201.94, while Seymour is slated to receive $8,331.77.
Brownstown Assistant Police Chief Joe Kelly said the funds will be used to pay for half the cost of replacing body armor for all of the department’s officers.
Kelly said the body armor or bulletproof vests, which have a price tag of $800 to $900, have to be replaced every five years at the manufacturer’s recommendation because of wear and tear. The remainder of the cost is paid for through the department’s operating fund.
He said all of the department’s six officers recently received new body armor, and the seventh officer, when hired, also will have new body armor.
Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott said because he has about 40 officers, the city can’t afford to replace all of the vests at one time.
“Each new officer gets one,” he said.
Capt. Carl Lamb tracks each officer and the age of their vest so they can be replaced at the end of five years.
As part of the grant, each officer is required to wear their vest while on duty, Abbott said.
Dave Murtaugh, executive director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, said ballistic body armor has saved more than 3,000 police officers’ lives during the past three decades, according to the National Institute of Justice.
“The ICJI recognizes local agencies that met the requirements for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership matching grants and applied directly with the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance,” Murtaugh said.
The Bulletproof Vest Partnership gave funding priority to cities, towns and counties with less than 100,000 residents.
The 50-50 matching funds reimburse the purchase of National Institute of Justice-compliant vests that are made in the United States and ordered after April 1, 2017. The local agencies listed below must request reimbursement before Aug. 31, 2019.
For information about the Bulletproof Vest Partnership, visit ojp.gov/bvpbasi.