BETHLEHEM — The Bethlehem Police Department plans to have around 29 new ballistic body armor worth $30,040.70 within three months, to replace their current inventory.
BPD Chief Louis Corsi had requested the Town Board’s authorization back on Wednesday, April 24 to purchase the replacement body armor, and the board voted in favor unanimously.
The board’s agenda indicated the “Town has been awarded a grant from the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP), created by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2016, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative designed to provide a critical resource to state and local law enforcement.”
However, the grant amount and when it was awarded were not listed. According to the BVP’s online database, the city of Albany received an award of $37,796 for the 2018 fiscal year.
The BVP program has provided over 13,000 jurisdictions across the country with $467 million in federal funds as a means to purchase around 1.3 million vests as of January 2019.
For the 2019 fiscal year, grant applications are accepted by the BVP from April 16 through May 28.
In Bethlehem’s case, half of the purchase, exactly $15,020.35, would be covered by the grant and the other half will be paid by BPD’s own budget. Corsi said the replacement body armor are in production now in the meantime.
When asked why purchase the replacement body armor now, Corsi said, “There’s a recommended expiration date on every piece of body armor and the national Department of Justice looks at and evaluate them first. When they get through a certain age, we start going through the process of replacing them. Under general standards, after about six to seven years is when we should start replacing the body armor.”
He did note that not all of BPD’s body armor are due to be replaced at the same time but the order for 29 replacements was what was needed for now.
“Our officers deserve the best and we try very hard to maintain that,” he concluded. “I’m also pleased we’re able to keep up with the equipment purchases.”