Partnership provides Opelousas Police bulletproof vests - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Partnership provides Opelousas Police bulletproof vests

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ST. LANDRY PARISH, LA. (KALB News Channel 5) The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office partners with federal bulletproof vest grant program.

The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office assisted The Opelousas Police Department in obtaining a grant to pay for half the cost of approximately 20 pieces of body armor for their officers.

According to The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership is a federal grant program that assists law enforcement agencies in obtaining body armor to protect their officers. Since 1999, the BVP program has reimbursed more than 13,000 jurisdictions, a total of $277 million in federal funds for the purchase of over one million vests. According to The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office, BVP is a critical resource for state and local jurisdictions that saves lives. Based on data collected and recorded by BVP staff, in 2012, protective vests were directly attributable to saving the lives of at least 33 law enforcement and corrections officers, in 20 different states, an increase 13.7% over 2011. At least 13 of those life-saving vests had been purchased, in part, with BVP funds.

"Safety is our number one priority whether it's for my department or another agency," Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz said. "We will assist them in any manner to help them protect their officers."

Opelousas Police Department Chief Perry Gallow said, "I am thrilled that the Bulletproof Vest Partnership has approved legislation to help protect the brave officers working every day on the front lines in our communities to keep us safe. These vests are part of our uniform and essential to our police operations. This grant helps us not only stay safe, but be fiscally responsible with Opelousas tax dollars."

To be eligible for the funds, police departments must have a policy requiring officers to wear vests, as well as a mission that focuses on safety and training.

For more information, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership website can be visited at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

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