The latest sale of confiscated weapons has generated $104,392 in grants to purchase body armor vests, service weapons, ammunition and Tasers for budget-strapped law enforcement officers across the state, according to the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security Executive Director John Holiday.
“Kentucky’s sworn law enforcement officers face incredible challenges throughout their careers,” Holiday said in a statement.
“It is critical that these dedicated men and women have the best resources and equipment available as they protect and serve the people and property of Kentucky.”
“This program is another way the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security can in turn protect and serve our law enforcement professionals.”
One of the 26 grants awarded this cycle will provide the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office $9,310 to purchase 14 body armor vests.
“Under the fund restrictions we currently have, the only way to purchase this equipment would have been to reduce daily patrols and vehicle maintenance,” Livingston County Judge-Executive Chris Lasher said.
“This grant will allow us to continue to protect our officers by providing them with safest and most up-to-date equipment without compromising public safety.”
“Right now one of our officers has no protective vest, and I had to borrow mine from another law enforcement agency,” Ravenna PD officer Michael Gross explained.
Under the Law Enforcement Protection Program administered by KOHS, weapons confiscated by law enforcement entities are sold by the Kentucky State Police at public auction to federally licensed firearms dealers.
Proceeds from the auction (after a 20% administrative fee retained by KSP) are then awarded to a variety of city, county, public university, sheriff’s and school district law enforcement officers.
In awarding LEPP grants, KOHS gives first priority to providing and replacing body armor and second priority to providing firearms and ammunition, with residual funds available for the purchase of electronic-control weapons or electronic-muscular disruption technology, and body-worn cameras.
KOHS began administering the Law Enforcement Protection Program in July, 2008.
Since that time, the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security has awarded more than $4.4 million in LEPP grants. The LEPP program has awarded more than $500,000 in grants in 2016.
Applications are accepted throughout the entire year. Applications are reviewed quarterly by KOHS staff and with approval of the governor are awarded in accordance with KRS 16.220 based on available funding.