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Committee Advances Bill That Establishes Public Safety Equipment Grant Program For Law Enforcement

Arkansas Senate

An Arkansas Senate committee has advanced a bill that establishes a grant program for the distribution of "public safety equipment" to law enforcement agencies, detention centers and corrections agencies.

On Tuesday, the Senate State Agencies and Public Affairs Committee by voice vote, with no dissenting votes heard, passed Senate Bill 292.

Under the proposal, the Department of Public Safety would be able to form a Public Safety Equipment Grant Program. The program would be able to award grants to be used to buy "nonlethal equipment," training or accreditation. Purchases that would qualify under the program include body cameras, virtual reality training programs and bulletproof vests.

The Secretary of the Department of Public Safety would have the power to require agencies who receive grants to provide matching funds.

In presenting his bill to the committee, Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, said it does not provide funding for the program itself, but merely sets up the structure for it. 

"The hope is that some of the money from either the federal stimulus or potential future state surplus monies or even private sector money could be put into the fund to help fund all this," Rapert said.

No one spoke against the legislation in committee. The bill now goes to the full Senate for a vote.

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