A.G. Schneiderman Encourages New York Police Departments To Apply For Bulletproof Vest Program
More Than 110 Departments Have Applied To The inVEST Partnership, Which Will Provide Law Enforcement Agencies With Funding To Purchase Bulletproof Vests
Schneiderman: Officers Who Risk Their Lives To Protect Us Deserve Protection In Return
NEW YORK – During remarks to the New York State Association of Police Benevolent Associations conference, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today that more than 110 police departments across New York State have applied to receive funds under the inVEST Partnership, a $3.5 million program dedicated to assisting New York State law enforcement agencies with the purchase of vital and lifesaving bulletproof vests. Attorney General Schneiderman also encouraged more departments to apply, noting the deadline for applications is Tuesday, July 15.
“The brave men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe deserve our every effort to protect them in return,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Reducing the cost of lifesaving bulletproof vests is consistent with our commitment to ensuring the safety of these officers and showing gratitude for the sacrifices they make on our behalf every day. The inVEST Partnership will arm officers across our state 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 June, Attorney General Schneiderman established the inVEST Partnership. As part of the program, the Office of the Attorney General will provide selected law enforcement agencies with up to 50 percent matching funds to purchase new vests. Law enforcement agencies in New York State in need of new or replacement bulletproof vests are encouraged to apply to the inVEST Partnership.
In 1998, recognizing the need to outfit police officers across the country with bulletproof vests, the U.S. Congress passed the Bulletproof Vest Partnership. The program has since provided New York State with over $25 million to help purchase more than 212,000 vests. However, since 2010, funding from the federal program has dropped by over 80 percent in New York State, while the demand for this lifesaving equipment has not decreased.
In response, Attorney General Schneiderman has allocated $3.5 million in funds seized as proceeds from joint federal and state criminal investigations in order to provide financial relief to New York State law enforcement agencies seeking to purchase bulletproof vests.
In the past thirty years, 71 police officers in New York State have died as a result of injuries sustained from gunfire in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. While no vest offers absolute protection, the National Institute of Justice has reported that more than 3,000 law enforcement officers have been saved by ballistic body armor in in the past thirty years.
In order to apply, a law enforcement agency must be a member of 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.