COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Attorney General Dave Yost, and Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud announced Thursday the expansion of a program that helps protect the lives of Ohio’s law enforcement officers.
As part of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) budget, Governor 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,” said Governor DeWine. “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.”
“Our local cops continue to protect us from danger day in and day out; now this support for them will continue as well,” said Attorney General Yost. “I’m proud to see that these grants are helping to protect officers in every corner of our state. 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.
“Workplace safety is a critical component of our mission, and we are happy to commit these dollars to such a worthwhile program,” said BWC’s McCloud. “The more we can protect law enforcement, the more they can protect the rest of us. That’s how important this program is.”
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.
In Gallia County, a total of $36,841 has been received, with $16,675 for the sheriff’s office, $12,492 for the Gallipolis Police Department and $7,674 for the Village of Rio Grande Police Department.
In Meigs County, a total of $18,913 has been received, with $9,517 for the sheriff’s office, $6,837 for the Middleport Police Department and $2,559 for the Syracuse Police Department.
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).