COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced a plan to create a new program to help Ohio’s local law enforcement agencies purchase body armor vests. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has agreed to support funding the effort through a recent expansion of its safety grant program.
The BWC currently offers its Safety Intervention Grant Program to Ohio’s private and public employers to purchase equipment to reduce or eliminate injuries and illness associated with a particular task or operation. A portion of the Safety Intervention Grant Program funds will be used to fund the new Ohio Law Enforcement Body Armor Program, enabling local law enforcement agencies to receive up to $40,000 per agency to purchase body armor vests with a local match of 25 percent.
“I am pleased to be able to offer the new Ohio Law Enforcement Body Armor Program in partnership with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to help local law enforcement agencies with the costs associated with life-saving body armor vests,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “This new program will help our first responders get the latest body armor, helping to protect them while they do the important work of keeping their communities safe.”
In June, BWC announced that it would dedicate a portion of safety grants to prevent injuries and fatalities among law enforcement officers. Under an agreement between the Attorney General and BWC, the Ohio Law Enforcement Body Armor Program will be eligible for these funds through June 2019.
Ohio’s law enforcement agencies will be able to apply for the program through an application form that will be linked on the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway (OHLEG). Applications will be reviewed and awarded on a first-come, first served basis. Vests to be purchased must meet the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) standards, and agencies must demonstrate that they have a mandatory wear policy in place for uniformed officers on duty.