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May 05, 2006
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NYPD to start issuing beefed-up vests

BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA. STAFF WRITER

Copyright 2006 Newsday, Inc. 

The NYPD unveiled its new bulletproof vest yesterday, one with the extra body coverage that police say could have saved Dillon Stewart, the officer killed by a bullet that struck him in his armpit.

"Any time you can get the best possible equipment in the hands of our police officers is a good thing," Commissioner Ray Kelly said. "To the best of my knowledge, no other police agency in the country will have this vest."

The new vests, for which the city allotted $12 million yesterday, will be handed out to rookies who graduate from the Police Academy next month.

Another 18,000 cops currently using what is considered a lesser model will get the new vest in the coming months. The new ones cost $560 each.

The old vests can stop a .357 or 9-mm round fired from 16 feet away at a speed of 1,100 feet per second, according to city officials. The new vests can stop 9-mm and .44-caliber bullets fired from the same distance at a speed of 1,430 feet per second.

The new vests also reach up higher under the neck and under the armpit and wider across the back, officials said.

Another 18,000 cops already have the higher level vests, but those do not have the extra body coverage that the new model does.

Stewart, of Elmont, was gunned down in Flatbush on Nov. 28, when a bullet struck him under his arm, about a quarter-inch above the rim of his vest.

Right after the shooting, Kelly instructed the department's vest committee to come up with a model that covers more of an officer's torso.

"It's a fitting tribute to Officer Dillon Stewart's memory that an improved, NYPD-directed design emerged from his tragic death," Kelly said.

More fully vested

The city allotted $12 million for bulletproof vests that are 2 inches wider and a half-inch higher at the neck. Other Level IIIA vest improvements over their predecessors:

Level IIIA vests Level II vests

Can stop 9-mm and Can stop 9-mm and

.44 caliber rounds fired .357 rounds fired

from 16 feet with a velocity from 16 feet with a velocity

of 1,400 feet per second of 1,100 feet per second

34 layers of material 20 layers of material

at least 1-inch overlap no overlap

underneath the armpit

between the front and back 

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