Despite New Body Armor, NYSP Still Vulnerable to their Biggest Threat

Written by Scott Sulzbach, Director of Global Sales and Marketing at Buffalo Armory

It doesn’t take more than a passing glance at the headlines to understand that cops the world over face new and evolving threats.

From weaponizing vehicles to the proliferation of military-grade arms, police from Plattsburgh to Paris are scrambling to prepare and protect themselves in a dangerous new world.

While some threats are more difficult to predict and protect against, others are well known.

Threats posed by firearms, for example, can be quantified and forces outfitted in a way that brings protection level on par with on officer’s most common threats.

(Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill update New Yorkers on the NYPD police officer who was shot today (8/10) in Brooklyn. The police officer is in stable condition at Jamaica Hospital. Courtesy of the NYPD and YouTube.)

Ammunition recovered at scene of 8/10/17 incident. (Image Credit: NYPD)
Ammunition recovered at scene of 8/10/17 incident. (Image Credit: NYPD)

It was in this spirit that the New York State Police allocated millions of dollars from the State’s emergency grant funding to outfit their entire force with new body armor.

It should have been a worthy use of taxpayer money, but the system failed us.

Improper oversight not only wasted taxpayer money, but also left the entire NY State Police – the second largest police force in the State – unnecessarily vulnerable.

There are two rounds of high-powered ammunition most frequently confiscated by New York State Police:

  • The (7.62 X 51) ballistic fired most commonly from the AK-47, and
  • The (5.56 X 45) 62 gr. Green tip M855 or (5.56 X 45) 55gr. M193 fired from AR-15.

(Learn More. Regulators say the so-called “green tip” rounds used with AR-15 assault rifles can penetrate bullet-proof vests, while critics say any potential ban is an attack on the Second Amendment. Courtesy of CBS This Morning and YouTube. Posted on Mar 3, 2015)

The armor plates purchased by NYSP should stop both.

Everything up to this point makes sense.

Recognizing their officers faced increasing threats from high-powered rifles firing one of two common rounds, NYSP moved quickly to purchase new armor plates to protect the force against the emerging threat.

Unfortunately, this is where it all went sideways.

Armor plates are scored against standards set by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice.  And while certification requirements are standard, the acquisition process is anything but.

In fact, there is no standard process for acquiring armor plates. Often, someone with little or no experience leads the acquisition process.

(Buffalo Armory’s Star 555 Hard Armor is NIJ III Certified & Able to Stop Multi Hits From M80, M855 Green Tips. Courtesy of Buffalo Armor and YouTube)

It is unacceptable that any police officer in New York or elsewhere leaves for work without being adequately protected from threats that might prevent them from returning home at the end of the day.

We owe it to the men and women in blue who risk their lives daily to make our State safe.

Scott Sulzbach is the Director of Global Sales and Marketing at Buffalo Armory, an innovative armor manufacturer based in Buffalo NY.

A U.S. Marine veteran, Sulzbach has spent over 20 years working in senior-level sales and marketing positions for global and national companies, including PepsiCo and Corsair.