COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Attorney General Dave Yost and Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud announced Friday the expansion of a program that they said helps protect the lives of Ohio’s law enforcement officers.
As part of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation budget, DeWine is directing $3.5 million in new funding to the program. The governor launched the body armor program while serving as Ohio’s attorney general, and Attorney General Yost began administering the program after taking office earlier this year.
“Ohio’s law enforcement officers face danger every day, which is why it is so important that we do all we can to support them,” DeWine said in a news release. “Hundreds of law enforcement agencies have already taken advantage of this opportunity to outfit their officers with new safety gear, and I’m proud to increase our investment in this life-saving program so that we can help protect even more of our officers as they serve our communities.”
Yost said the program will offer support for local police.
“I’m proud to see that these grants are helping to protect officers in every corner of our state,” he said. “It’s a meaningful way to show our profound thanks for all they do.”
More than 400 local law enforcement agencies have participated in the program since it was introduced in August 2018. Participating agencies can receive up to $40,000 to purchase body armor vests with a local match of 25 percent.
A new interactive map on the attorney general’s website identifies participating agencies and allows users to examine where $3.55 million in grants awarded previously is being used statewide. The 405 local agencies that have received grants to date cover 82 Ohio counties. The county receiving the most grant dollars is Cuyahoga, with $326,653 going to 31 agencies in that county. The interactive map is available at https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Law-Enforcement/Ohio-Law-Enforcement-Gateway/Body-Armor-Grants.
Eligibility is restricted to law enforcement agencies that pay BWC premiums and have policies in good standing. Law enforcement agencies can find more information and apply for the program through the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway (OHLEG).