A program that has supplied more than 1 million bulletproof vests to police departments in Texas and around the country is facing a holdup on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has blocked reauthorization of the 15-year-old Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant, arguing that the federal government has “no role” in funding local police departments
But Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and author of the program, said at a hearing Wednesday that “the law enforcement community has spoken with a single voice on this issue. They understand the unfortunate reality that life-saving vests can be extremely expensive, particularly for smaller jurisdictions, and that they can wear out too soon.”
Local police officials testified that the vests, with an average price between $800 and $1,000 apiece, can be life-saving tools in a dangerous job.