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Program Provides Financial Relief To Agencies Hurt By Drastic Cuts To Federal Vest Program; Schneiderman: We Are Doing Everything In Our Power To Protect Those Who Are Sworn To Protect Us<
(MINEOLA) Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the first round of awards to law enforcement agencies in the New York City metropolitan area through the Attorney General’s inVEST Partnership, a statewide program that helps law enforcement agencies purchase bulletproof vests for sworn officers. The funding awarded today 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 Schneiderman announced an initial round of funding to 60 law enforcement agencies in Western New York, the Capital Region and the North Country.
Bulletproof Vests from the Attorney General’s inVEST Partnership, a statewide program that helps law enforcement agencies purchase bulletproof vests for sworn officers. Image August 4, 2014 | Buffalo – Photo credit: AG Schneiderman Media Center
“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 Attorney General 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, Attorney General 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.
In Mineola, Attorney General Schneiderman announced a new round of inVEST Partnership grants to 24 law enforcement agencies in New York City and on Long Island, providing them with $1.48 million to purchase 4,728 life-saving bulletproof vests. The three biggest recipients of this round of funding included the NYPD, the Nassau County Police Department and the Suffolk County Police Department.
“It’s very simple: bulletproof vests save lives. We saw it again last month when Det. Mario Muniz survived a gunshot wound because of his bulletproof vest,” said NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton. “Attorney General Schneiderman’s inVEST Partnership is a creative, life-saving way to use money seized from drug dealers to help us protect the officers that protect New York City.”
Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas C. Krumpter said, “I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for starting the inVEST program and for selecting the Nassau County Police Department to participate. A bulletproof vest is one of the most important pieces of equipment that a police officer can have. Vests save lives, and the funding from this program is critical to ensure that our officers are outfitted in the newest, safest, and most state-of-the-art technology available.”
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Edward Webber said, “The Suffolk County Police Department would like to thank Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for his efforts in securing the necessary money to outfit officers across the state with bulletproof vests. The bullet-resistant body armor is an essential tool in protecting our officers and this funding will go a long way in keeping our officers safe.”
New York City PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said, “A bullet-resistant vest stands second only in importance to strategic, tactical training that professional police officers receive. Thanks to Attorney General Schneiderman’s inVEST partnership program, 2,400 of our members of the NYPD will be supplied to help keep our members safe on the streets. There is a shelf life to the effectiveness of bullet-resistant vests, and this generous donation will help keep some of our members in the latest, most effective vests available.”
“MTA Police officers need to be prepared for any type of hazard on the job, and equipping them with state-of-the-art bulletproof vests is a commitment to keep them safe,” said MTA Police Chief Michael Coan. “By providing 50 new vests to our officers, this program will make every effort to ensure their safety while they try to ensure the safety of others.”
Jim Carver, President of the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, said, “The Nassau PBA thanks AG Schneiderman for providing funds to purchase these life-saving bullet proof vests. This year has seen a 71% increase over last year in police officer fatalities due to firearms nationwide. The funding provided by the AG for new upgraded vests will provide my members the much-needed protection against the ever-present dangers that our police officers encounter while risking their lives each day protecting the residents of Nassau County.”
Noel DiGeralomo, President of the Suffolk County PBA, said, “I thank Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for his effort to protect our officers with his bulletproof vest program. The safety of our officers in Suffolk County is paramount, and we applaud any and all assistance to ensure this.”
Michael J. Palladino, President of the Detectives’ Endowment Association and the New York State Association of PBA’s, said, “Last week we learned once again the significance of a bullet-resistant vest. Our detective was shot at point-blank range in the chest, and his vest defeated the round and saved his life. The Attorney General is focused on providing every officer in the State the same protection.”
The Attorney General’s office committed $3.5 million from criminal and civil forfeiture funds to create the inVEST Partnership. The office began accepting applications for the inVEST Partnership on June 9th. The awards announced today represent the second round of funding. Subsequent rounds will be announced in the coming weeks. For those departments that receive awards, matching funds will cover up to 50 percent of the total costs of vests, vest carriers, attachments, inserts, fitting, shipping and applicable taxes. Funding is available to equip newly hired officers or to replace expiring vests for veteran officers. Vests must conform with the performance standards delineated by NIJ in its most recent testing report.
The inVEST Partnership will provide matching funds for between 6,000 and 10,000 vests. Although the initial priority application deadline for the inVEST Partnership has passed, law enforcement agencies still in need of funding for protective vests are encouraged to apply. Late applicants will be reviewed based on funding availability, on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to apply, an agency must be a member of or join the United States Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Equitable Sharing Program. Approved departments will be required to submit receipts for reimbursement by the end of this year.
The awards announced Monday can be found here.