NEW LEXINGTON — The Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Attorney General Dave Yost and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Administrator and CEO Stephanie McCloud announced on Aug. 29 an expansion to a program that assists in keeping law enforcement officers safe. Three departments in Perry County were given grants as part of the expansion.

The Governor has directed $3.5 million for new funding to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) budget. The grant money awarded to law enforcement agencies is for the body armor program launched by DeWine when he was the Ohio Attorney General. The program has since continued strong under Attorney General Yost who took over administering the program earlier this year.

DeWine remarked about how local law enforcement officers face life-threatening challenges every day to protect Ohio’s citizens. Yost agreed, stating that the grant funding is a “profound” thank you to officers in the state of Ohio.

There have been more than 400 local law enforcement agencies who have been with the program since it was introduced in August of 2018. The agencies who participate in the program can receive approximately $40,000 to purchase body armor vests with local matches of 25 percent.

McCloud was also quoted in a recent press release stating that the body armor program serves a critical purpose for workplace safety.

The press release provided insight into how many agencies have been given funding for body armor. Using the link, users can look at each individual county. When a county is selected, the website provides a list of each law enforcement agency that has been given grant funding along with how much each agency was given.

The interactive map is on the attorney general’s website and it track where the $3.55 million in grants will go. There are 405 agencies that have received grants which covers 82 counties in Ohio. The county that received the most grant dollars went to Cuyahoga with $326,653 and will go towards the 31 agencies in that county.

There are eligibility restrictions, according to the press release, to some law enforcement agencies who pay BWC premiums as well as policies being in good standing. Other law enforcement entities who wish to apply for grant funding can do so through the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway.

There were three agencies in Perry County that received grant awards. They were the City of New Lexington, Corning Police Department and the Perry County Sheriff’s Office. The New Lexington Police Department was awarded $7,689 in grant funding. The Corning police Department was awarded $1,536 and the Perry County Sheriff’s Office was awarded $9,498 in grant funding.

New Lexington Police Chief Scott Ervin stated that his department applied for grant funding through the Attorney General’s Office almost four months ago. His department sought grant funding through several different programs due to current body armor being expired or close to it.

“We were right on the line,” Chief Ervin commented.

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