August 6, 2016

NYPD Upgrades Their Armor, Weapons

Soft body armor is not bullet proof, it is bullet resistant. Since about 1980 cops in NYS are issued body armor through a grant provided through the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) who reimburses the agency for a predetermined amount. The agency can upgrade the armor but will only receive whatever the state allows for basic armor protection. I used to administer this program for my department and measure rookies for body armor before I retired so it's been awhile.

Wearing soft body armor can be very uncomfortable, especially in hot weather. You sweat like crazy under a 3/4" of Kevlar and if the vest is not fitted properly, it rides up on your gun belt and sits under your chin when you sit down in a squad car.

Depending on who has the state contract, cops are generally issued Threat Level II or IIA body armor; IIA armor has a removable plate covering the heart area. Level II will stop .38, .357, 9 mm and shotgun slugs but not Teflon coated bullets ...  or a knife blade. The armor will also help pad blows from a blunt instrument attack and have  proven useful in protecting an officer involved in a traffic accident. To stop a rifle shot you need at least a Level III vest. These are very bulky and heavy.

From ABC News:
At a time when the New York Police Department is encouraging beat cops to be more approachable to law-abiding citizens, it's also equipping them to do combat with rampaging shooters.

The mass shootings in Orlando, Dallas and elsewhere have prompted the nation's largest police department to accelerate a $7.5 million program to distribute heavy-duty body armor to uniformed patrol officers who might have to respond.

Some 20,000 helmets are set to be distributed by the end of the year. And the department's 3,000 patrol cars will begin carrying pairs of heavy-duty vests that officers will put on if dispatched to a report of an active shooter.

[...]The new gear reinforces an approach adopted by the NYPD and some other departments around the country that calls on first-responding officers to confront shooters immediately, rather than establish a perimeter and wait for specially trained tactical units to arrive. In addition, the NYPD is giving officers special training on how to deal with multiple shooters.

The response comes amid concerns from civil libertarians and others that ordinary beat cops are becoming too militarized. But police officials see the measures as necessary to protect their officers and save civilian lives in deadly encounters that unfold quickly and demand a swift response.
Decades ago (feels funny saying that) we were trained and operated under a much less militaristic environment. I am not a real big fan of the current mindset. The new cops are into the "us vs. them" mentality which is not helpful. Police officers shouldn't be an occupying force, we are not equipped for that; but the New Black Panthers and BLM are forcing cops to behave as if they were.

Unless absolutely necessary I really don't want to see armored vehicles with "POLICE" emblazoned on the sides running through the streets.

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