COLUMBUS — Four Richland County law enforcement agencies will receive nearly $80,000 collectively from the Ohio state government.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Attorney General Dave Yost and Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud recently announced the expansion of a program that helps protect the lives of Ohio’s law enforcement officers.

The Richland County Sheriff's Office will receive $40,000, the Mansfield Police Department will receive $31,151, Richland County Court Services/ Adult Probation will receive $8,145 and the Butler Police will receive $524,

"We are appreciative of what the State did in the awarding of the vest grant. Richland County Sheriff's Office, with the amount of officers we have and the number of vests needed, were awarded the maximum amount of $40,000.00. This helped our budget immensely," Sherrif Steve Sheldon said. "Special thanks to Governor DeWine and Attorney General Yost."

As part of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) budget, DeWine is directing $3.5 million in new funding to the program. The governor launched the body armor program while serving as Ohio’s Attorney General. Yost began administering the program after taking over that office earlier this year.

“Ohio’s law enforcement officers face danger every day, which is why it is so important that we do all we can to support them,” DeWine said. “Hundreds of law enforcement agencies have already taken advantage of this opportunity to outfit their officers with new safety gear, and I’m proud to increase our investment in this life-saving program so that we can help protect even more of our officers as they serve our communities."

Yost mirrored the governor's support of law enforcement in discharging their dangerous duties.

“Our local cops continue to protect us from danger day in and day out; now this support for them will continue as well,” the Attorney General said. “I’m proud to see that these grants are helping to protect officers in every corner of our state. It’s a meaningful way to show our profound thanks for all they do.”

More than 400 local law enforcement agencies have participated in the program since it was introduced in August 2018. Participating agencies can receive up to $40,000 to purchase body armor vests with a local match of 25 percent.

“Workplace safety is a critical component of our mission, and we are happy to commit these dollars to such a worthwhile program,” said BWC’s McCloud. “The more we can protect law enforcement, the more they can protect the rest of us. That’s how important this program is.”

The 405 local agencies that have received grants to date cover 82 of Ohio's 88 counties. The county receiving the most grant dollars is Cuyahoga, with $326,653 going to 31 agencies in that county.

Eligibility is restricted to law enforcement agencies that pay BWC premiums and have policies in good standing. Law enforcement agencies can find more information and apply for the program through the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway (OHLEG).

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Staff Reporter

Noah Jones is host to The Open Mic Podcast -- available on Apple Podcasts! He is the crime, education and music reporter for Richland Source. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and a giant Cardinals fan.