Newsday
Updated February 6, 2015 9:40 PM


New bulletproof vests planned for NYPD cops

By MATTHEW CHAYES  matthew.chayes@newsday.com

All NYPD cops will eventually receive new bulletproof vests, under a plan that allocates $7.3 million to start replacing the oldest ones.

Officers with the oldest vests -- about 6,400 with vests that are 10 to 15 years old -- will get new vests first, with body measurements beginning in March, and the new vest distribution starting in May.

The $7.3 million, money that has the support of both Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council, will pay for about 13,000 bulletproof vests, the mayor announced at a police precinct Friday.

Vests older than five years are out of warranty though they are tested every year to make sure they work. The new ones are lighter and feature a ceramic plate that protects against a knife or certain kinds of long guns that the material in the rest of the vest does not guard against, Bratton said.

He said the vests will be replaced every five years. He said bulletproof vests -- technically bullet resistant -- have saved the lives of 87 police officers.

The department has 12,500 vests that are less than five years old. The NYPD has more than 34,000 uniformed officers.

Police academy personnel also will perform annual measurements.

"That inspection is to ensure that as an officer's body changes over time that the vest itself still provides total coverage to the upper body," Bratton said.

According to Sgt. Laverne Wilson-Valis, the commanding officer of the NYPD's Ballistic Vest Unit, the vests will be bought from Protective Products Enterprises of Pompano Beach, Florida. Each vest costs $639.40, with $61 for women for the ceramic plate, and $72 for men. Wilson-Valis said there is no measurement fee.