Division of Criminal Justice Services

Soft Body Armor Program

Many of the forms necessary for application to the NYS Soft Body Armor reimbursement program are now available for download!

New York State's Soft Body Armor Program

In on ongoing effort to help defer the costs of life-saving body armor for municipal police agencies, the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) administers, pursuant to Executive Law, article 35, section 837-d, the Bullet Proof Vest Reimbursement Program. This is a open-ended reimbursement program: police agencies may be fully reimbursed for the purchase of vests any time during the fiscal year. However, this program covers only vests for new hires of police officer status. It does not provide reimbursements for replacement vests or funds for newly hired peace officers.

Recently, the Federal government developed its own soft body armor program as an important resource to the State's law enforcement community. Because of a statutory requirement in the New York State program (subsection 4 of the Executive Law) , all police agencies must apply for any available Federal funding before they may be eligible for State reimbursement. Unlike the New York program, the Federal program will provide 50 percent reimbursement for newly hired officers and can be used to partially reimburse localities for the costs associated with replacing old or ill-fitting vests. Additionally, this program benefits both police and peace officers. While the Federal program limits the amount of reimbursement to half of the vest cost, it actually provides more funding as it covers a wider number of criminal justice agencies and a wider population of officers.

The Federal program's application involves a fifteen-week period during which time municipalities may apply for funds. Such requests can only be made electronically on the program's website: http://vests.ojp.gov.

Once Federal funding is either acquired or denied, police agencies then have the option of applying for New York State funds. It is possible for police agencies to be reimbursed for 50 percent of the vests for new hires under the Federal program, and then to be reimbursed for the other 50 percent from the State program.

New York State's Soft Body Armor Program is administered by the Division of Criminal Justice Service, Office of Financial Services. Direct questions about this program to dcjsfunding@dcjs.ny.gov.