A.G. Schneiderman Announces Funding To Equip Officers In Finger Lakes And Southern Tier With Bulletproof Vests
More Than $60k In Invest Partnership Grants Will Support Purchase Of 175 Life-Saving Bulletproof Vests For 14 Law Enforcement Agencies Including The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office, Binghamton Police Department, Watkins Glen Police Department, And The Horseheads Police Department
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
BINGHAMTON – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced awards to law enforcement agencies in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier, 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 $16,817 to support the purchase of 71 vests for the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office, $10,465 to support the purchase of 26 vests for the City of Binghamton Police Department, $4,847.94 to support the purchase of 12 bulletproof vests for the Village of Watkins Glen Police Department, and $4,387.50 to support the purchase of 9 vests for the Horseheads Police Department, among others.
In total, the Attorney General announced $60,535.95 in grants today to support the purchase of 175 bulletproof vests. This is the fifth round of awards. Previously, Attorney General Schneiderman announced more than $2.6 million to support the purchase of over 7,500 bulletproof vests for law enforcement agencies in the Southern Tier, Western New York, the Capital Region, Central New York, the North Country, New York City, Long Island, Westchester, and the Hudson Valley.
“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 brave officers at 14 law enforcement agencies in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions 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: between 1984-2014, 71 officers in New York State have been shot and killed in the line of duty. 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.
Binghamton Mayor Richard C. Davidsaid, “Bulletproof vests are critical tools in keeping our police officers safe while protecting our neighborhoods. I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for recognizing the importance of public safety in our community and sharing in the City’s commitment to protect those who put their lives on the line every day.”
Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said, “I thank Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for demonstrating his commitment to the safety of our law enforcement officers. With recent cuts in federal funding for bulletproof vests, the funding his office is providing will help save lives and keep our officers safe.”
“Each day our law enforcement officers go to work to protect us, and we need to do all we can to protect them,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. “The inVEST Partnership will equip more officers in our community with life-saving vests, and I thank Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for his efforts to provide this critical funding.”
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 fifth 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 up to 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 breakdown of today's awards is as follows:
City of Binghamton Police Department
Johnson City Police Department
Village of Endicott Police Department
Elmira Heights Police Department
Horseheads Police Department
Cortland County Sheriff's Department
Cortland Police Department
Delaware County Sheriff's Office
Sidney Police Department
Village of Watkins Glen Police Department
Steuben County Sheriff's Office
Village of Canisteo Police Department
Dryden Police Department
Waverly Police Department
The first round awards for Western New York, the Capital Region and the North Country can be found here. The second round awards for New York City and Long Island can be found here. The third round of awards for Westchester and the Hudson Valley can be found here. The fourth round of awards for Central New York can be found here.