The New York Police Department presented a new range of lightweight ballistic vests last Wednesday. Vests designed especially for detectives.
Around 1000 pieces of body armor were donated by the New York City Police Foundation, a nonprofit that first bought bullet-resistant vests for the NYPD in 1972, and the Detectives’ Endowment Association, the union for NYPD detectives.
The final version of the NYPD body armor went through about 25 to 35 armor prototypes, according to Vice President of Armor Express, Robert Hogan and was specially made to fit detectives to wear under their suits.
“The goal was to design a new ballistic vest that was easier and quicker for detectives to wear in combination with their business suit. We are joined by detectives here today who are wearing the new personal armor. The feedback on this new design has been terrific. They are thinner and lighter, while still providing safety protection and most importantly our detectives like them and wear them out of the field consistently. I want to thank the Detectives Endowment Association and President Paul Digiacomo for both their financial support and expertise from the beginning,” NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Edward Caban said.
The new bulletproof vests began being researched following the death of Brian Simonsen, a detective who was shot and killed while responding to a Queens robbery in 2019. Simonsen was unprotected due to wearing a detective’s suit. It was this tragedy that showcased a need for body armor protection that can be donned with a suit.
“The new vests offer the level of ballistic protection as the old vests. What’s different about this is the comfort, it’s conducive to wearing a suit and comfortable going out into the field,” Chief of Detectives James Essig said.
Thanks to the support of the @nycpolicefdtn & the @NYCPDDEA, today we are happy to announce that an additional 1100 bullet-resistant vests will be donated to keep our @NYPDDetectives safe, all in honor of our fallen hero, Det. Brian Simonsen. pic.twitter.com/MvwrTh975B
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) September 14, 2022
“You see our detectives wearing these vests out at crime scenes doing interviews,” James Essig said Wednesday. Essig said the department is “getting very positive feedback” about the vests.
The lighter bulletproof vests were repeatedly tested against different types of gunfire, as well as rapid gunfire, and proved to offer the same amount of protection as the traditional vests, which can weigh between 3 and 5 pounds.
Once the pilot program was deemed a success, the NYPD decided to outfit all of the department’s 4,600 detectives with the thinner vests.
The NYPD showed off the new bulletproof vests by having several detectives wearing the ballistic vests alongside a table housing older models that are clearly far bulkier. According to officials, the bullet-resistant vests will still be worn by patrol units, however, detectives will exclusively wear the new models.
“In order for members of the NYPD to carry out its critical work of keeping New Yorkers safe. It’s essential to make sure we are first keeping our officers safe,” Deputy Commissioner Caban said.