BJA's Justice Today
May 2012   
In the Spotlight
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Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program

Enacted in 1976, the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Act allows BJA to recognize and respond to survivors of public safety officers killed or catastrophically injured in line-of-duty incidents. The PSOB Program provides death benefits in the form of a one-time benefit to the eligible survivors of public safety officers who have suffered a line-of-duty death in accordance with the Act. PSOB also provides benefits to eligible officers catastrophically injured as well as education benefits to spouses and children. BJA's PSOB Office staff work year round to serve and to honor America's fallen heroes and their survivors. For more information, visit www.psob.gov.

News You Can Use

BJA Looking for Visiting Fellows
Through the new BJA Visiting Fellows Program, BJA is looking to leverage state, local, or tribal subject-matter expertise to build capacity to address gaps in priority and emerging issues in the criminal justice field. BJA will host up to five Fellows, and Fellowships will last 12–18 months. Applications are due June 28, 2012. Read more.

Medal of Valor Opens May 31
The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor (MOV) application period opens May 31 and closes July 31. To be considered for the 2011–2012 MOV, an officer must be nominated for actions that occurred between June 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012.

Register Now for NSA’s Annual Conference
The National Sheriffs’ Association 2012 Annual Conference will be held June 16–20 in Nashville, TN. There will be over 60 seminars and workshops covering topics such as law enforcement duties, jail operations, service of process, transportation of prisoners, and court and judicial security.

Grants and Funding

BJA has released numerous competitive solicitations. For a complete listing, go to: http://www.bja.gov/funding.aspx.

For other funding opportunities available through the Office of Justice Programs, visit http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/funding/solicitations.htm.

This Month in Law Enforcement

The FY 2012 Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Program application period will open May 16 and close June 27. Through the BVP Program, states, units of local government, and tribal governments are reimbursed up to 50 percent of the cost of each unit of eligible body armor purchased for law enforcement officers. Agencies can purchase the best protection available, meeting the needs of their officers, so long as the vests are compliant with the latest National Institute of Justice (NIJ) standards at the time of purchase. Since January 1, 2012, 12 officers have been saved because they were wearing a protective vest when assaulted. Of those saves, four vests were purchased with assistance from the BVP Program, the best return on investment any funding can obtain for officers, their families, and the community. 
 
To plan for your 2012 application, take the following steps: check prior-year BVP funds in the BVP system to ensure balances have been expended and requests for payments have been submitted; check your jurisdiction and contact information in the BVP system and update if needed; be sure that the vests you intend to purchase are on the NIJ-compliant list; and have a written mandatory wear policy in place when the application is submitted. 
 
FY 2012 BVP funds can only be used for vests ordered after April 1, 2012. Contact the BVP Helpdesk at 1-877-758-3787 or e-mail vests@usdoj.gov with any questions regarding the application process and eligibility.

Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program

Enacted in 1976, the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program provides death, disability, and education benefits to those eligible for the program. For details regarding these federal benefits for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders killed or catastrophically disabled in the line of duty, call the PSOB Office toll-free at 888–744–6513 or 202–307–0635, or visit the PSOB web site.

Did You Know?

In calendar year 2011, BJA's Intellectual Property (IP) Enforcement Program grantees:

  • Seized electronics, fashion merchandise, household goods, and related assets worth $93,785,929 (retail value).
  • Seized a total of $1.72 million in cash.
  • Trained 1,646 law enforcement and task force personnel in FY 2011.
  • Made over 3,200 arrests for IP crimes in 2011 and reported 1,687 IP cases that ultimately led to a warrant, indictment, or arrest.
Featured Program

VIPS—Celebrating a Decade of Service
This May, the Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) Program, managed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) with support from BJA, celebrates its 10th year of providing support and resources to state, local, territory, tribal, and campus law enforcement agencies to assist in their use of volunteers. Over the past decade, VIPS has trained 3,300 law enforcement executives, distributed more than 11,000 VIPS Resource Guides, and received 61 million hits to the VIPS web site.

The VIPS Program began with 74 registered programs in 29 states. Today, 2,250 programs with 252,000 volunteers are operational in 50 states and 19 international locations. In recognition of this milestone year, IACP has set a goal to register 200 new programs during 2012. If your agency’s volunteer program is not yet registered, you are encouraged to register today.

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