ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The Elmira Police Department donated bulletproof vests and helmets to the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church on April 12. The vests and helmets will be sent directly from the church to Ukrainian soldiers.

Anthony Alvernaz, the chief of police for the Elmira Police Department, said they donated a total of 44 vests, along with riot helmets and gas masks.

“Of course, I’d like to be able to take 100% of the credit, but this was actually brought to me from a request from a citizen of Elmira, ” said Chief Alvernaz. “[They have] been working with Councilman Grasso and Mayor Mandell. I was approached by the council member and the mayor to see if we had any surplus equipment that we could donate. We jumped on board and we loved the idea. We’re excited to have been invited to participate.”

Alvernaz, along with detectives, dropped of the vests and helmets at the church located on East McCann’s Boulevard in Elmira Heights on Tuesday morning.

“If we can keep one person from sustaining an injury or death, then it makes us feel good,” said Chief Alvernaz.

The church gifted EPD a Ukrainian flag which now hangs at the police department in Elmira’s City Hall.

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Elmira Police are expected to donate their bulletproof vests to the Ukrainian Army to help in the country’s fight against Russian forces.

The EPD’s bulletproof vests have expired their certification dates, according to the agenda for the April 11 City Council meeting agenda. The certification dates are established by the vest manufacturer, and the EPD doesn’t use the vests beyond that date.

EPD Chief Alvernaz “has been informed that the Ukrainian Army is in need of bulletproof vests in its fight to repel Russian forces”, so the Elmira City Council has determined the EPD’s expired vests to be “surplus property”, the agenda said.

Should the motion pass, the vests will be delivered to St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Elmira Heights. From there, the surplus vests will be delivered to the Ukrainian Army.