Protecting And Honoring Our Nation’S Law Enforcement


Monday, May 15, 2000


"Over 14,000 law enforcement officers have given their lives to protect the liberties upon which America was founded. We owe these brave men and women a debt of gratitude that is immeasurable and unending."

President Bill Clinton
Monday, May 15, 2000

Today, at the U.S.Capitol, President Clinton commemorated the 19th Annual Peace Officers Memorial by announcing new efforts to protect law enforcement officers and honor their extraordinary service. The President announced that to date, the Justice Department has funded over 92,000 armor vests for state and local police officers, and that $24 million in FY 2000 funding is available to double the current number of vests funded. The President also announced his support for legislation which would extend the Bulletproof Vest Program through FY 2004 and double the current level of authorized funding to $150 million, and issued a directive to the Attorney General for the creation of a Presidential award of valor to honor the extraordinary bravery and service of public safety officers.

Improving Officer Safety with Bulletproof Vests. In June 1998, President Clinton signed into law the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act to provide grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to purchase bulletproof vests for their officers. Under the Bulletproof Vest Program (BVP), the Justice Department pays up to 50 percent of the cost for vests purchased by law enforcement agencies. Today, the President announced:

Supporting Legislation to Expand the Vest Program. The President announced his support for new legislation, sponsored by Senators Leahy and Campbell and Representative Visclosky, which would:

Creating a New Award to Honor Extraordinary Service. In addition to helping keep law enforcement safe, President Clinton believes we should honor the exceptional valor and sacrifice of our public safety officers. The President strongly supports legislation to create a medal of valor award to honor the officers who act above and beyond the call of duty. Unfortunately, the legislation has remained stalled for months. The President believes that public safety officers should not have to wait any longer to receive the recognition they deserve. Today, the President:

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