The NYPD unveiled a new line of lightweight bulletproof vests Wednesday designed especially for detectives.
Some thousand vests were donated by the New York City Police Foundation at a cost of $750,000. The body protection went through about 25 to 35 prototypes, according to Vice President of AMR Express Body Armor Robert Hogan and was specially made to fit detectives to wear under their suit jackets.
“The goal was to design a new ballistic vest that was easier and quicker for detectives to wear with their business attire. We are joined by detectives here today who are wearing the new vest. 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 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 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.
The NYPD showed off the new bodywear by having several detectives wearing the vests alongside a table housing older models that are clearly far bulkier. According to officials, the 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.