Police Chief Tom McQuillen demonstrates how easy it is to put on and take off body armor vests in 2019.


The Sea Isle City Police Department was awarded a $2,500 grant that will enable the department to purchase body armor.

South Jersey Gas announced recently its 2020 First Responders Grant Program winners. There were a total of 11 winners and $39,000 in grant funds given.

Sea Isle Police Lt. Steve Conte applied for the grant on Nov. 2.

“He turned it into them and we got an email back on Dec. 3 saying that we were a grant winner,” explained Sea Isle Police Chief Tom McQuillen in an interview Wednesday.

McQuillen emphasized how the body armor is a key piece of equipment for the officers.

“It provides an additional layer of safety for the officers,” he said. “Body armor is one of our most important pieces of equipment. It helps keep the officers safe.”

Melissa Orsen, president of South Jersey Gas, said in a news release about the grant, “This year, South Jersey Gas’ First Responders Grant Program takes on a new meaning to support our first responders who keep us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic through their tireless work.”

Sea Isle has 23 full time officers. McQuillen explained that the body armor has to be replaced after five years.

“We are continually replacing body armor since they only have a lifespan of five years,” the chief pointed out. “This grant will help us purchase this year’s body armor for our officers who have expiring body armor.”

McQuillen said his department is appreciative of South Jersey Gas for awarding the grant.

“It is a really great program,” he said of the First Responders Grant Program. “We are truly honored to be a recipient of a grant. Our officers will be safer because of South Jersey.”

Body armor is a vital piece of safety equipment for officers on patrol.

The 2020 First Responders Grant Program recipient departments and projects include:

  • Barrington Fire Department – to purchase multi-gas monitoring meters and low-profile hand lights
  • Cape May County Regional Urban Search and Rescue Team– to purchase a monopod system for trench rescues in confined spaces
  • City of Bridgeton Fire Department – to purchase a gas monitoring meter
  • Deepwater Fire Department – to support the purchase of LED traffic control devices
  • Galloway Township Police Department – to support the purchase of a K-9 officer and related training
  • Laurel Springs Fire Department – to purchase turnout gear for a firefighter
  • Medford Township Fire and EMS – to purchase multigas monitoring detectors
  • Pennsville Ambulance Department – to purchase a UV light and UV rapid sanitizer
  • Sea Isle City Police Department – to purchase body armor for officers
  • Vineland Fire Department – to purchase portable gas leak detection equipment
  • Woolwich Fire Company – to purchase portable water tanks for fires in non-hydrant areas

Through the First Responders Grant Program, South Jersey Gas provides critical support to help operations, improve safety measures and/or provide training at local first responder departments.

With applications from first responder departments that serve municipalities across the utility’s service area, South Jersey Gas conducts a thorough and competitive selection process to determine the grant recipients.

The First Responders Grant Program will be offered again in the fall. Program information is available on the South Jersey Gas website at: