Every morning, afternoon and evening, police officers leave their homes not knowing whether they will return home to their families. Day-in and day-out, they walk out the door knowing they have chosen a career that puts them in very real danger and as we have discussed previously, the dangers of the job have increased. That is why proper funding for police safety equipment should be the first priority for local governments when it comes to funding for public safety. Unfortunately, many officers do not have access to the protective equipment they need to stay safe and return home to their families.
Proper Funding for Police Safety Equipment
Due to the increase in gun-related incidents and ambush attacks, we must ensure that the equipment police use, particularly officer safety gear, are up-to-date and accessible. According to the National Institute of Justice, the lifespan for most vests issued to officers is only five years. As a result, many departments issue expired vests, but officers may not know it until it is too late. Furthermore, as weaponry continues to get more sophisticated, so must the safety gear police officers use.
Of course, keeping police safety equipment up-to-date comes at a cost, especially as protective technologies are constantly evolving. However, although municipal budgets are often strained, local governments must spare no expense when it comes to keeping police officers safe. And in the rare cases where proper funding from local governments is impossible, other government entities must step in and ensure that police are properly equipped. Programs such as the national Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant are a vital resource for police officers when local governments fall short. The BVPG is a Justice Department program that provides assistance to local police departments to purchase ballistic vests for law enforcement officers. Since 1999, the program has awarded 430 million dollars and 1.2 million ballistic vests to over 13,000 jurisdictions in the United States. Expanding funding to programs like the BVPG will go a long way to ensure that all police officers are protected.
Local Government is Key
Most decisions on officer vest policies fall on local sheriffs, police chiefs, and government officials. That is why electing officials who support such policies is critical for officer safety. It is important that citizens stay engaged in local government elections because your local officials have the greatest impact on police officer safety. As citizens, we must elect strong leaders who will ensure that police officers have the tools they need to protect their communities and stay safe. America’s cops need a unified voice in the political process!
Wondering how to show support for police officers? Most Americans support the police and it is time that we, the silent majority, stand up for them with a unified voice! Please join us in this national effort to support the men and women in uniform who protect us every day!