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Albany Chief speaks out on allegations of expired bullet proof vests

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - After five years bulletproof vests need to be replaced.

Acting Chief Robert Sears says they have no documentation that any officer is working on the street with an expired bulletproof vest.

“It's just not true."

Chief Sears is speaking out against allegations that some of his officers are not fitted with protective gear and that their bulletproof vests are months past the expiration date.

"I have zero outstanding requests for any vest that is outside the five-year replacement cycle. There are zero outstanding requests."

The Albany Police Union tells a different story, claiming 20 officers are wearing expired vests.

"There are officers currently working with expired vests on the street,” Officer Greg McGee, Vice President of the Albany Police Union, said.

McGee says new officers who were fitted for vests in October are still waiting. What should only take 10-12 weeks has taken months.

"Somebody made a mistake here in this case and now we can't guarantee their safety and that's a huge huge issue."

According to the police department, those vests are expected to arrive by early May. As for the holdup, that's unclear.

Armor vests are included in the city's budget with grants awarded through the Department of Justice just last year.

Chief Sears says no officer has ever come to him with these concerns.

"If there's ever an issue, we will address it as fast as humanly possible through not only channels we have but through our vendors," Chief Sears said. "The last thing I want to do is send someone out there without a proper vest. We have a mandatory wear policy here. We have a duty and an obligation from a moral standpoint but it's also within our policies."

Chief Sears encourages any officers with issues to come forward. So far he says, nothing has crossed his desk indicating there is an officer with an expired vest.


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