Armor Dynamics offers KPD ballistic panels for its vehicles
by Jesse J. Smith
A local defense contractor it teaming up with the Kingston Police Department and the local business community to provide cops with potentially lifesaving equipment. Armor Dynamics, which has a research and manufacturing facility at the Kingston Business Park, has announced the launch of â€œProject Armor: Kingston.â€ The plan calls for soliciting donations from the community to outfit KPD patrol vehicles with lightweight bullet-resistant door panels and window visors.
The proposal, which has the backing of Police Chief Egidio Tinti and Mayor-elect Shane Gallo, aims to outfit 16 police vehicles with the ballistic panels at a cost of about $1,600 per vehicle. For every nine cars outfitted with the armor kits, the company will donate one. The money will be raised privately. Armor Dynamics spokesman Robert Miraldi said that the company had approached local financial institutions to solicit matching donations to speed up the fundraising process. Miradi said the company hit on the idea of a private fundraising campaign after it exhausted grant opportunities to carry out small pilot projects with other police departments around the state.
â€œIf the Kingston business community can support this, itâ€™s a win-win for the community,â€ said Miraldi.
Armor Dynamics, which expanded their operation in Kingston a few years ago with federal money secured by U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, produces lightweight ballistic panels using a proprietary formula. Company officials tout the materialâ€™s lightweight and moldable properties which allow it to be fitted over or around any object. Tinti said he was initially skeptical about the bullet-stopping power of the tin sheets of plastic armorâ€¦ until he saw a demonstration.
â€œThe guy handed me a panel that looked like clipboard material and I told him â€˜I donâ€™t believe you,â€™â€ recalls Tinti. â€œThen he put it in a vise and shot it. Nothing, (the bullet) just bounced off.â€
Tinti said while he could not recall an instance of a KPD car being shot, the door and window panels could make all the difference during a felony traffic stop or other high-risk situation. Tinti added the armored cars would also provide protection in instances where officers were transporting prisoners or witnesses.
During officer survival training, cops are taught to use open doors as cover. The problem, Tinti and Miraldi said, is that vehicle doors, while better than nothing, wonâ€™t do much to stop a bullet.
â€œWe donâ€™t like to hear about officers taking cover behind the doors,â€ said Miraldi. â€œBecause they offer very little protection. In fact Iâ€™d say no protection.â€