Leahy: 22 Vt. Police Depts. Win Bulletproof Vest Grants
Leahy Also Secures $1 M. For Vt. Drug Task Force
WILLISTON (Friday, Oct. 1) – Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Friday announced that 21 Vermont communities and the Vermont State Police have been awarded federal grants to purchase bulletproof vests for officers working in the field. The funding was awarded through the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, a federal grant program authored by Leahy and administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. At a press conference in Williston Friday afternoon, Leahy also announced that he has secured $1 million for the Vermont Drug Task Force.
Leahy was a lead author of the 1998 legislation establishing the federal program that provides matching grants to state and local authorities to purchase bulletproof vests for officers on the street. In the more than 10 years since the program began awarding grants, Vermont law enforcement agencies have received over $650,000 in federal grant assistance, which has provided for the purchase of over 2,800 vests. Leahy most recently authored legislation extending the program through 2012.
“The vests that these grants will purchase for officers in Vermont will help keep law enforcement officers safe,” said Leahy. “At a time when towns have had to tighten their belts and make tough decisions about their budgets, these grants are even more important for communities in Vermont.”
Leahy also announced Friday that the Vermont Drug Task Force has been awarded a $1 million grant through the Byrne Discretionary Grant Program. Leahy has secured $9.25 million for the Task Force since 2000. The funding has allowed the Task Force to increase efforts to combat the abuse, trafficking and violent crime associated with illegal drugs. The Vermont Drug Task Force is a statewide initiative comprised of state, county, and local law enforcement officers focused on substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, and anti-drug crime investigative work. It is managed primarily by the Vermont Department of Public Safety.
“The Vermont Drug Task Force is a model for states and communities across the country,” said Leahy. “Combining the resources and expertise of town police, county sheriffs, the state police and federal law enforcement agencies, the Vermont Drug Task Force has effectively helped to reduce drug-related crime in Vermont. This funding will help to keep the Task Force operating this year, fighting crime and keeping our streets and communities safe.”
Vermont State Police Commander Col. Tom L’Esperance joined Leahy at a press conference to announce the funding at the Vermont State Police offices in Williston. Earlier this year, Leahy invited L’Esperance to testify before a field hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Leahy chairs. Leahy has held a series of field hearings in Vermont to hear testimony from local, state and federal officials, as well as law enforcement leaders, educators, experts in prevention and treatment, and concerned parents about the persistent problem of drug-related violent crime in rural communities. The hearings spotlighted the crucial role of the Vermont Drug Task Force in coordinating local, state and federal law enforcement resources in combating drug crime.
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Communities Receiving Bulletproof Vest Grants
Essex Junction $3,889.00
Fair Haven $1,288.00
Grand Isle County $1,415.25
Lamoille County $3,762.00
Orleans County $2,540.50
St. Albans $260.50
St. Johnsbury $2,740.00
Washington County $7,837.50
State of Vermont $6,356.20
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Press ContactDavid Carle: 202-224-3693
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