WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) today awarded grants totaling over $32.6 million to increase police officer safety and wellness in communities across the United States.
The awards, funded under three separate BJA programs, provide law enforcement agencies, educational institutions and other criminal justice partners funding to administer skill- and awareness-building and tactical training for law enforcement professionals nationwide. The training includes evidence-based tools to increase officers' resilience, energy, positive performance and mindfulness both on and off the job.
The funds also allow reimbursement to state and local law enforcement agencies for purchase of bulletproof vests under the OJP Bulletproof Vest Partnership program, which saw awards totaling $18.6 million in 2016. To date, OJP has helped law enforcement agencies around the U.S. purchase more than 1.2 million vests.
"Nothing ranks higher on our list of priorities than the safety and health of America's law enforcement professionals," said Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason. "These awards will give the men and women who safeguard our communities the skills, education and tools they need to respond to threats in a way that minimizes risk to themselves and wins the confidence of the citizens they are sworn to protect."
Under the 2016 National Initiatives: Officer Safety and Wellness Initiative/VALOR Program, more than $13.4 million was awarded to the following recipients: the Institute for Intergovernmental Research ($3,383,385); Texas State University ($6,427,880); Polis Solutions LLC ($2,099,524); the Police Foundation ($1,199,996); and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund ($400,000).
Established in 2010, the VALOR Program builds stronger community relationships by focusing on five core categories of training that will be addressed by this year's recipients: officer safety, wellness and resilience; active shooter response; officer safety and wellness program recognition; officer safety and wellness pilot research and evaluation model; and de-escalation training. To date, over 25,400 law enforcement officers have been trained under the VALOR Program.
BJA provided an additional $500,000 to BJA's National Training and Technical Assistance Center to continue the Blue Courage training program, designed to build resilience, reignite passion, and renew awareness and understanding of the nobility of policing.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.
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SOURCE Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs