BURLINGTON, VT. >> Vermont U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy is highlighting a federal program that provides grant money so local law enforcement officers can get bulletproof vests.

Leahy says he joined with Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell — a Colorado Republican — to propose the program in the late 1990s. That was when after Carl Drega of Columbia, New Hampshire, in 1997 shot to death two New Hampshire state troopers, a judge and a newspaper editor in Colebrook and injured three other law enforcement officers. The incident ended when police shot and killed Drega.

Leahy says the matching grant program has leveraged $412 million in federal funds since it was created. Of the 1.2 million vests it has funded nationwide, 4,600 have come to Vermont.