BY TRONE DOWD
In light of recent tragedies around the country involving the slayings of police officers on duty, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that cops patrolling the streets of the five boroughs will soon receive brand new, protective high-end gear.
The newly funded hardware includes what is known as heavy ballistic vests, as well as heavy ballistic helmets for head protection. The vests will include front and rear, level three panel protection against gunfire, whereas the helmets will keep fatal headshots from hitting officers on the line of duty.
According to a statement released by the NYPD, the new vests and helmets will “further enhance the safety of responding officers in the event of an active shooter situation.”
A total of twenty thousand ballistic helmets will be distributed to all uniformed members of the service assigned to patrol duty in the five boroughs. In addition, 6,000 heavy ballistic vests and helmets will be placed in 3,000 vehicles assigned to patrol, two in each vehicle ready for use in case of emergency. Patrol officers will begin getting the upgraded gear starting later this summer and into the beginning of next year.
“Now, more than ever, society is asking its police officers to go into harm’s way and to face grave danger,” Bratton said. “The department is fortunate to have the financial support to ensure that as they do, they have the best equipment and protection available.”
The project will cost the department $7.5 million. De Blasio was confident in the investment, stating that “New Yorkers depend on our brave men and women in uniform to keep us safe every day.”
“In the wake of [the attacks on police officers in] Dallas, Baton Rouge and Kansas City, we need to make smart investments to keep our officers safe in return,” de Blasio said. “Every NYPD officer will be equipped with a new helmet and heavy armored vests so that they are better prepared, and better able to protect themselves and others, in a dangerous situation. This is the latest in a series of investment designed to ensure that the NYPD remains the strongest, most professional police force in the world.”
In the last two years, the NYPD has been working to improve the safety of its officers. Since 2014, the New York County District Attorney, City Council and City Hall have all collectively invested $320 million towards the funding of new equipment and training practices. Some of these investments include offensive tools such as M4 automatic rifles, tasers and pepper spray, emergency items like belt-worn trauma kits, and support items in the form of tablets and smartphones to modernize and simplify the way law enforcement conducts their daily duties.
Several high profile slayings in New York City have made headlines in recent years. In December 2014, Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos of the 84th Precinct were shot execution style by a mentally-ill Maryland resident in Bedford-Stuyvesant in a vicious revenge murder on behalf of the then recent killings of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement. Last May, Officer Brian Moore of the 105th Precinct was shot and killed on duty in Queens Village. Most recently, Detective Randolph Holder, a Southeast Queens resident, was fatally shot and killed while pursuing an assailant in East Harlem last October.
Reach Trone Dowd at (718) 357-7400 x123, firstname.lastname@example.org or @theloniusly