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Thousands Of Officers In NYC Area To Get Bulletproof Vests, Officers In NJ To Get Settlement From Defective Vests

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) --  It's a big day for law enforcement agencies in New York and New Jersey when it comes to bulletproof vests.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Wednesday that $1.48 Million in inVEST partnership grants will provide 4,728 bulletproof vests for 24 law enforcement agencies including the NYPD, Nassau And Suffolk County Police Departments.

"When our brave law enforcement officers go to work to keep our communities safe, we owe it to them to do everything we can to keep them safe," said Schneiderman. "The inVEST Partnership grants we are announcing today will arm thousands of brave officers across New York City and Long Island with life-saving vests they might not otherwise have, adding a critical layer of safety to one of the most dangerous jobs in the world."

As WCBS 880's Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported, the sister of fallen Nassau Police Officer Arthur Lopez, Cheryl Lopez, agrees.

Officer Lopez was killed by gunfire two years ago; he was not wearing a bulletproof vest.

Thousands Of Officers In NYC Area To Get Bulletproof Vests

Lopez told reporters, including 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria, that no officer should go to work without wearing one.

"No officer should ever walk a beat, respond to a call or chase down a lead without wearing a bulletproof vest," Lopez said.

Thousands Of Officers In NYC Area To Get Bulletproof Vests, Officers In NJ To Get Settlement From Defective Vests

"Had Arty been wearing his vest on that October day, there'd be a good chance he'd be with us today, standing behind us," Lopez said.

Also on Wednesday, 63 law enforcement agencies that purchased defective bulletproof vests will be getting their share of $173,778, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and the Division of Law said Wednesday.

The vests were made by Second Chance Body Armor, Inc., a company that filed for bankruptcy in 2004 after it was discovered that the vests' protective armor failed and deteriorated over time.

"Police officers put their lives on the line each day to protect and serve us, and we need to do everything in our power to ensure that they are properly equipped for their jobs," said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman.  "We are not going to leave these agencies to foot the bill for defective body armor that put their officers at risk of injury or even death in the line of duty."

No New Jersey police officers are known to have suffered injuries because of the defective vests, but in 2003, a police officer in California was killed and a Pennsylvania officer was seriously injured when their Second Chance Body Armor vests reportedly failed, officials said.

"We have finally reached a successful conclusion to a matter the state has been pursuing since we first learned that these so-called bulletproof vests were placing police officers at potential risk," Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee said.

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