Enacted in 1998 by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act (Public Law 105-181) and reauthorized by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–421), the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Program is a unique U.S. Department of Justice initiative designed to provide critical resources to state, local, and tribal jurisdictions for the sole purpose of purchasing bullet-resistant body armor for sworn law enforcement officers. This program is administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a component of the Office of Justice Programs.
Through the BVP Program, any acknowledged unit of general government (states, counties, federally recognized tribes, cities, and local jurisdictions) accepted by the U.S. Census Bureau that employs law enforcement officers is eligible to apply for funding. A jurisdiction’s chief executive is required to complete the online registration and to provide general oversight and approval of key transactions between the BVP Program and the jurisdiction’s participating law enforcement agencies. BVP recipients are reimbursed up to 50 percent of the cost of each unit of eligible body armor purchased for law enforcement officers. BVP Program funds are distributed on an annual basis. The BVP application process usually opens in April and closes six weeks from the opening date. Currently, jurisdictions with fewer than 100,000 residents receive priority funding, up to 50 percent of the amount they request. Any remaining funds are distributed on a pro rata basis to jurisdictions with more than 100,000 residents. In order to qualify for reimbursement, body armor purchased by a jurisdiction must comply with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) standards as of the date the body armor was ordered. Information regarding NIJ’s body armor research, testing, and compliance standards can be found at www.nij.gov/topics/technology/body-armor/Pages/welcome.aspx.
A list of vest models on the current NIJ compliance list can be found at www.nij.gov/topics/technology/body-armor/pages/compliant-ballistic-armor.aspx . Agencies requesting funding under the BVP Program must have a written mandatory-wear policy in effect for uniformed patrol officers. The application and funding process can be completed in five easy steps online at www.ojp.gov/bvpbasi.