BARRE, Vt. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy says Vermont officers will receive funding to help pay for nearly 300 bulletproof vests.

Leahy says that recent tragedies have shown the U.S. must do all it can to ensure the safety of law enforcement officers. The Times Argus reports police forces will receive almost $87,000 to go toward paying for 280 vests statewide.

Barre Police Chief Tim Bombardier praises the program for helping law enforcement replace vests as they go out of date.

The Democratic senator led an effort to create the bulletproof vest program after Carl Drega murdered four people, including two state troopers, in New Hampshire in 1997. After wounding four other officers, Drega was killed in a shootout with police in Vermont.

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Information from: The Times Argus, http://www.timesargus.com/