Illinois To Require Bulletproof Vests

Jul 17, 2014

Credit (Creative Commons)

A new law signed Wednesday is intended to keep police officers safe, by requiring they get protective gear.

A bulletproof vest will become part of an officers' standard equipment issue. Contingent on money, of course.

The new law includes provisions to help ensure there is funding.

It law requires communities and the state apply for a federal grant, that provides matching funds specifically for the purchase of bullet proof vests.

And the law says that a state fund, that's made up of fees charged to people convicted of certain traffic and criminal offenses, can be used to help buy the vests.

But there's no telling the feds will award the grant, and the state fund is used for various other needs, like law enforcement training.

Given those possibilities, and the potential of a monster expense, the law includes an "out."

If Illinois' police standards board determines the state and federal government haven't given a local police force "substantial funding," the municipality is off the hook.

There's also an exemption if bulletproof vests are part of a police union's bargaining agreement.

The Illinois Municipal League, which often protests measures that could lead to additional expenses, was not opposed to the measure.