Sneak Preview: DOJ To Boost Oversight of Body Armor Programs

April 12, 2012 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(The following was excerpted from the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) The Department of Justice intends to reclaim unused funds and increase monitoring activities this year for grant programs that provide body armor to state and local law enforcement agencies, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report.

DOJ provides funding through two programs to support the body armor used by law enforcement, such as bullet-resistant and stab-resistant vests. The Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) offers two-year grants for state and local law enforcement agencies to purchase body armor, while its Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program makes four-year grants to purchase body armor and conduct other criminal justice activities. The DOJ’s National Institute of Justice also sponsors body armor research, establishes body armor performance standards and oversees body armor testing for compliance.

BJA has implemented several controls to manage the BVP program, including steps to ensure that payment requests are eligible; procedures to limit improper payments; and efforts to ensure that law enforcement agencies have mandatory policies for body armor wear. However, the GAO said that those controls could be strengthened by improving the management of undisbursed funds from closed BVP grants and reducing the risk that grantees will not comply with program requirements.

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