PERMA representatives will be holding a press conference at the Village of Menands at 1:00 pm today to announce a body armor pilot program.

Jeff Van Dyk, executive director, and Lew Moskowitz, public safety risk management specialist, will be speaking to members of the media about the program, which has been in the works since mid-2016.

After a thorough review of police claims over the past several years, PERMA determined that lower back claims were one of the most costly, as well as one of the most preventable. Moskowitz researched and found a new kind of body armor that moves equipment off the duty belt and onto an externally-worn ballistic vest.

The Village of Menands was approached to participate in the program late last year, which entails PERMA paying for 50% of the vests, and assisting in applying with the federal government for the other 50%. In exchange, PERMA will collect data to study the effects of the vests on lower back stress. All 15 officers have received their vests, and many have already worn them for a few weeks, and reported increased comfort and decreased strain.

Menands police chief, Michael O’Brien, and one of his officers, will also be on hand to share their experiences.