Police Commissioner O’Neill Commemorates Officers at DuPont Kevlar Award Ceremony

Since 1987, ballistic vests and other body armor have saved the lives of more than 3,000 cops nationwide. This month, the NYPD commemorated five of its members who were recently added to that list.

“As leaders, it’s our responsibility to keep our cops as safe as possible,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “There are real dangers out there and it’s our job to minimize that risk as much as possible.”

Commissioner O’Neill was joined at Police Headquarters by Carlo Fiorella, an engineer at DuPont, which in 1965 developed Kevlar, the synthetic fiber most commonly used in body armor for law enforcement. Since 1987, DuPont has worked with the International Association of Chiefs of Police to gather information on how Kevlar has saved officers and to honor the cops whose lives were saved.

“Our mission is to make sure that we promote, every day, and every shift, safety for officers,” said Carlo Fiorella.

Three NYPD officers were present to receive awards from Commissioner O’Neill:

  • Sergeant Herman Yan – Was struck by gunfire during a 2007 car stop that killed his partner, Detective Russel Timoshenko. Yan was able to return fire and information he gave investigators led to the arrest of the suspects.
  • Detective Michael Levay – Was shot once while writing a summons in a subway station in 2013.
  • Detective Mario Muniz – While working with two U.S. Marshals, was shot in 2014 attempting to apprehend a fugitive wanted for child molestation.

Two other officers who were not present also received awards under the program:

  • Detective Robert Salerno
  • Police Officer (retired) Brian Groves – Was shot during a foot pursuit in Manhattan in 2012.

“I’m grateful to be honored by such a prestigious company whose products help protect us,” said Sergeant Yan. “And I want to thank the Commissioner for taking the initiative to improve the safety of officers with better technology and equipment.”