Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. is leading his Congressional colleagues in supporting campaigns to acquire additional police funding and bulletproof vests for law enforcement officers (LEOs).
Pascrell, who serves as a co-chairman of the Law Enforcement Caucus in the House of Representatives, led 159 Congress members in support of the fiscal 2022 appropriations that would increase funding for law enforcement organizations.
Meanwhile, he led 26 colleagues in supporting legislation that would expand bulletproof vest access.
Expanding Funding for 2022
Pascrell was joined by Florida’s Rep. John Rutherford, fellow chair of the Law Enforcement Caucus, in leading the bipartisan group in requesting an increase for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) and Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programs.
“The Byrne JAG and COPS programs are the cornerstone of our federal justice assistance programs,” the two congressmen wrote. “Since their inception, Byrne JAG and COPS grants have enabled law enforcement agencies to better protect their communities and promote community policing initiatives that form vital bonds between officers and those they serve.”
The Byrne JAG program is designed to support a broad range of activities among state and local law enforcement agencies to control crimes based on specific needs. These grants can be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support and information systems for criminal justice programs in various areas.
The COPS program has placed more than 130,000 sworn LEOs in communities across the country by providing hiring grants. These grants are designed to help communities with a need for LEOs that do not necessarily have the funding needing to hire qualified personnel.
$30M for Bulletproof Vests
For the life saving vests, Pascrell is part of a bipartisan coalition seeking to fund the Patrick Leahy Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program with the authorized level of $30 million for fiscal year 2020.
The funding would help state and local law enforcement in purchasing bulletproof vests to protect LEOs in the field.
“Since 1999, the BVP program has awarded more than 13,000 jurisdictions a total of $522 million in federal funds for the purchase of over one million vests. According to the Government Accountability Office, over 3,000 law enforcement lives have been saved by armored vests since 1987,” noted Pascrell.
Pascrell was the author of the law, and in 2020, 256 New Jersey jurisdictions received $1.4 million in BVP grants.