Delaware Public Media

Sen. Chris Coons secures federal funding for bulletproof vests

Aug 8, 2017

Delaware law enforcement agencies could get federal grant funding again this year to buy bulletproof vests. It’s part of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program, which started in 1998.

Sen. Chris Coons pointed to the 2013 New Castle County Courthouse shooting when announcing the funding Tuesday. He said that incident highlights the importance of bulletproof vests for law enforcement officers.

Two Capitol police officers were wounded by a gunman, But they survived because they were wearing bulletproof vests bought through the federal grant program.

Coons says the $22.5 million in grant money for next year will go to protect law enforcement officers in Delaware and across the country.

“It’s all about officer safety in a time when as you heard from Chief Bond, those who would do harm to officers are more and more using higher capacity, higher lethality weapons,” he said.

Coons said the custom-fitted vests can be too much for local police departments to afford without help.

“I think it is a way for the federal government can insist on state-of-the-art vests that are regularly tested and that meet the latest needs of law enforcement in the field or the ones that are fielded," he said. "And make sure that agencies of all sizes have a competitive opportunity to access this lifesaving technology.”

The New Castle County Police Department is seeking grant money to buy 200 bulletproof vests. The vests are fitted to the individual officer for maximum protection.