A.G. Schneiderman Announces Funding To Equip State Police And Hundreds Of Officers In Central New York With Bulletproof Vests

$289K In inVEST Partnership Grants Will Support Purchase Of 708 Life-Saving Bulletproof Vests For 13 Law Enforcement Agencies Including The Syracuse Police Department, The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, The City Of Utica Police Department, And The New York State Police

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

SYRACUSE – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced awards to law enforcement agencies in Central New York, as well as the New York State Police, 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 $91,375 to support the purchase of 215 vests for the Syracuse Police Department, $37,613.16 to purchase 92 vests for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, $19,375 to support the purchase 50 vests for the City of Utica Police Department, and $111,960.50 to support the purchase of 277 vests for the New York State Police. In total, the Attorney General announced $289,852.94 in grants today to support the purchase of 708 bulletproof vests. This is the fourth round of awards. Previously, Attorney General Schneiderman announced more than $2.4 million to support the purchase of almost 7,000 bulletproof vests for law enforcement agencies in Western New York, the Capital Region, 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 hundreds of brave officers in Central New York and troopers across the 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 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, including four in the Hudson Valley, 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.

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said, “This grant money will be used to equip our recruit class with bulletproof vests, a vital piece of equipment that not only can prevent injury, but saves officers’ lives. It is critical that our members have the necessary equipment to be able to safely and effectively perform their duties. I want to thank the Attorney General for his commitment to the safety of the members of the New York State Police.”

City of Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said, “On behalf of the Syracuse Police Department, I thank Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for his commitment to the safety of our officers. The financial support couldn’t come at a better time. Yesterday, the department welcomed over 30 new officers. Each officer who was sworn in will be receiving a bulletproof vest courtesy of the Attorney General’s inVEST program.”

“It is imperative that we keep our officers safe so, in turn, they can keep our neighborhoods and families from harm. I'm pleased that the Syracuse Police Department will be receiving significant support from the inVEST program, and I thank the Attorney General for his leadership on this issue,”State Senator David J. Valesky said.

Assembly Member William Magnarellisaid, “Funding through Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s inVEST program provides needed funding to update police equipment in the form of bulletproof vests that strained local budgets may not allow. It is important to keeping our police safe on the job. The announcement demonstrates the Attorney General’s commitment to our law enforcement officers.”

Assembly Member Albert Stirpesaid, “By supplying our police officers with this protective equipment, we continue to ensure they have full access to the tools needed to continue protecting our citizens and strengthening our community. I thank the Attorney General’s office for sharing my commitment to our officers.”

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 fourth 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:

County/Department

Amount of Award 

No. of Vests

Albany

$111,960.50

277

New York State Police Department

$111,960.50

277

Madison

$9,929.40

23

Chittenango Police Department

$4,408.95

10

Oneida City Police Department

$5,520.45

13

Oneida

$21,368.32

56

Camden Police Department

$1,553.32

5

City of Utica Police Department

$19,375.00

50

New York State University Police at SUNY Institute of Technology

$440.00

1

Onondaga

$142,794.72

346

Onondaga County Sheriff's Office

$37,613.16

9

Syracuse Police Department

$91,375.00

215

Town and Village of Camillus Police Department

$9,796.50

29

Town of Cicero Police Department

$754.22

2

Town of DeWitt Police Department

$3,255.84

8

Seneca

$3,000.00

4

Town of Seneca Falls Police Department

$3,000.00

4

Wayne

$800.00

2

Village of Lyons Police Department

$800.00

2

Grand Total

$289,852.94

708

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.

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