NYPD detectives getting slimmer, lighter bullet-resistant vests

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The NYPD is updating an essential piece of their wardrobe - the one responsible for saving their lives.

The NYPD and New York City Police Foundation announced an initiative Friday rolling out 550 new light-weight bullet-resistant vests for NYPD detectives.

Bullet-resistant vests currently in use are heavier and thicker, making it difficult for undercover officers and detectives to wear them under or over their suits or other clothing.

NYPD department officials found that detectives tend not to wear their bullet-resistant vests because of their bulky nature.

The new vests are easier to wear, while still offering lifesaving protection.

The need for the light-weight vests was underscored after the tragic incident that resulted in the line of duty death of Detective Brian Simonsen.

The NYPD distributed the first 16 of the new light-weight bullet-resistant vests to detectives at the 102nd Precinct, where Simonsen was based.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea was accompanied by Simonsen's widow, LeeAnn Simonson.

Shea said the design of the new vests began literally the day after Simonsen's death.

"These new bullet-resistant vests will help save lives and ensure that our investigators are well protected while out in the field," Shea said. "We appreciate the support of the Police Foundation and The Detectives' Endowment Association in helping to secure the funds to pilot these new vests."

While the NYPD Patrol Guide states detectives must wear vests when performing enforcement duty, such as making an arrest, it is otherwise up to the detective.

These vests have been made possible thanks to a donation made by the Police Foundation and The Detectives' Endowment Association.

They await the detective's feedback on the pilot vests, and will make modifications as necessary.

In 1972, the New York City Police Foundation provided the very first bullet-resistant vests to all members of the NYPD.

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