It became clear after a deadly shooting in 1997 that Vermont’s local law enforcement needed body armor, two New Hampshire state troopers were killed in the shootout and several others were injured.
One of the seriously injured was John Pfeifer, now the Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Swanton Sector. Pfeifer joined U.S. sentator Patrick Leahy and other local law enforcement leaders last Friday to remind everyone just how important their body armor is.
Leahy, a former Vermont prosecutor, said: “This partnership has been a personal priority for me dating back to that sad and shocking day in 1997. I am grateful for this program’s value and proven success. But moreover, I’m grateful to the officers who put their lives on the line in our communities for our safety. I hope that renewing this program will help keep other names from having to be etched on the memorial wall in the Nation’s Capital which now bears the names of 20,000 fallen officers.”
Body armor is a key component in law enforcement protection and this was re-affirmed when President Obama signed the Leahy bill into law on May 16 to renew the program’s earlier charter after it expired in 2012.
Since 1999, the matching grant program has leveraged $412 million in federal funds to help purchase more than 1.2 million body armor vests nationwide, including nearly 4,600 vests in Vermont, among 68 Vermont jurisdictions.