TRENTON – The N.J. Division of Criminal Justice is distributing nearly $3.6 million to state law enforcement agencies for the purchase or replacement of body armor vests.
A total of 544 state, county, and local law enforcement and corrections agencies are receiving some sort of grant as part of the Body Armor Replacement Fund, established in 1998 and funded through a $1 surcharge on traffic tickets and forfeitures of bail.
“Last year, upon taking office, this administration restored millions of dollars in dedicated funding for police body armor which the prior administration had diverted as a stopgap for unrelated state budget expenses,” said Attorney General Paula Dow in a press release. “Under my watch, funding from the Body Armor Replacement Fund, which totals nearly $3.6 million this year, will be used to stop only one thing: the bullets that threaten our devoted officers in New Jersey.”
The minimum grant amount is $500 and the price of body armor varies. The state has a multi-vendor contract that gives some price flexibility to the various agencies, but vests must be from a list of models certified by the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, according to the terms of the grant.
The New Jersey State Police, for example, are currently purchasing a vest and certain accessories at a state-contract price of $759.80 per package.
Since the inception of the Body Armor Replacement Fund Program in 1998, the Division of Criminal Justice – Grants & Program Development Section has provided nearly $50 million to the New Jersey statewide law enforcement community to purchase thousands of new vests.
A county by county, agency by agency list of the grants is available with this release at http://www.njpublicsafety.com.