WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Trump has signed into law a renewal of the bulletproof vest partnership grant program. Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy led the effort to renew the program, which Leahy first championed 20 years ago.
On April 1st 2019, a routine call nearly cost Georgia Police Officer Jerome Turner Jr. his life.
“I was shot a total of six times,” Turner said.
In a Skype interview, Turner said three of those shots could have been fatal if not for the bulletproof vest he was wearing.
“The fatal shots like right down the middle of the torso, the vest actually stopped those there,” Turner said.
Since that incident, Turner has undergone four surgeries and is still working to make a full recovery.
“If I wasn’t wearing my vest that day I wouldn’t be here doing this interview,” Turner said.
“I worked very, very hard to get thousands of these out to police officers all over the country,” Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy said.
Leahy has led congressional efforts for more than 20 years to ensure police departments have the lifesaving vests they need.
“We saved over three thousand lives with bulletproof vests,” Leahy said.
Leahy established a federal grant program that’s provided more than a million vests distributed to more than 13,000 of the nation’s law enforcement agencies, including Officer Turner’s.
Earlier this year President Trump signed a law to permanently fund the program, something the senator says helps him rest a little easier.
“If there’s some time when I’m gone or others are gone and it doesn’t get renewed, people are going to die,” Leahy said.
Senator Leahy says the program, now named in his honor, is vital to saving lives, especially for small, rural police departments that don’t have the necessary funds to cover the costs of the vests.
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