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NYPD, vest maker mend fences

By James Bernstein, Jamie Herzlich

The New York City Police Department yesterday confirmed that it has agreed to purchase more body armor vests from DHB Industries Inc. of Carle Place, formally concluding a dispute between the two sides over the reliability of the equipment.

A police department spokesman said DHB, one of the country''s largest providers of armored vests to police agencies and the U.S. military, would offer 1,000 vests free. The NYPD will buy additional DHB vests at reduced rates, the spokesman said.

Paul Donofrio, DHB''s executive vice president of corporate development and finance, said the company will provide the city police department with 5,300 vests "at a slight discount." He said any additional vests the NYPD orders would be sold "at an even smaller discount."

Donofrio said all of the vests newly ordered by the NYPD will be type-3As, which are stronger and heavier than those currently used by the city''s 39,000 officers, the majority of whom wear type-2 vests.

DHB and the department also said they had agreed on a protocol for testing the vests. It was the testing that last summer led to the dispute. The NYPD said its tests showed some of the vests did not stop bullets some of the time.

DHB, whose Point Blank Body Armor subsidiary in Oakland Park, Fla., manufactures the vests, strongly disagreed with the NYPD''s findings. The company said the tests were improperly done, conducted outside of the standards established by the National Institute of Justice, an arm of the Justice Department. The NYPD has now agreed to test under the institute''s standards.

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