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Thousands of officers in NYC and Long Island to get bulletproof vests through new program

MINEOLA – The first round of awards to law enforcement agencies in the New York City metropolitan area through the inVEST Partnership, a statewide program that helps law enforcement agencies purchase bulletproof vests for sworn officers, was announced on Thursday.

The funding includes $671,359.00 for 2,402 vests for the New York Police Department (NYPD), $498,729.00 for 1,397 vests for the Nassau County Police Department, $138,210.00 for 425 vests for the Suffolk County Police Department and financial assistance for 19 additional area police departments. In total, the Attorney General announced $1,481,785.90 in grants today to support the purchase of 4,728 bulletproof vests.

On Monday Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced an initial round of funding to 60 law enforcement agencies in Western New York, the Capital Region and the North Country.

“When our brave law enforcement officers go to work to keep our communities safe, we owe it to them to do everything we can to keep them safe,” said  Schneiderman. “The inVEST Partnership grants we are announcing today will arm thousands of brave officers across New York City and Long Island with life-saving vests they might not otherwise have, adding a critical layer of safety to one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.”

In 1998, the federal government passed the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Act, which established a competitive grant program to provide up to 50 percent matching funds for state, county and local law enforcement organizations to purchase bulletproof vests. Unfortunately, because of partisan gridlock in Washington, BVP grants to departments in New York State have dropped precipitously in recent years.  In fact, since peaking in 2010, grants awarded to law enforcement agencies in New York State decreased by 81 percent, or approximately $3.27 million. In June, Schneiderman announced the inVEST Partnership to replace funds cut from the BVP program.

The danger that law enforcement officers face on a daily basis cannot be overstated: Since 1984, 71 officers in New York State have been shot and killed in the line of duty and 29 different law-enforcement agencies have experienced gunfire fatalities. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) estimates that bulletproof vests have saved more than 3,000 police officers’ lives nationwide during the same time period. 

On July 28th, New York Police Department Detective Mario Muniz was shot multiple times, including once in the chest, while attempting to execute an arrest warrant on a suspected sex offender. The round that struck his chest was stopped by his bulletproof vest, likely saving his life, according to NYPD Commissioner William Bratton.