Keeping the safety of the city’s police officers front and center, the de Blasio administration has allocated more than $7 million of the city’s preliminary budget to replacing 13,000 bulletproof vests with newer, more effective ones at $600 apiece, the mayor announced on Friday, February 6 – a move some South Brooklyn pols were quick to commend.
“New York City’s police force is unparalleled and we owe it to our officers to ensure they have the resources they need to stay safe as they protect New Yorkers,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile who, in 2006, helped lead the charge to secure $12 million towards bulletproof vests for 18,000 officers and, in January of this year, pushed the $7.3 million allocation to his colleagues in the Council.
“The City Council is a staunch supporter of the NYPD and we are proud to do our part to make sure all NYPD officers have new bullet-resistant vests,” Gentile said. “I thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and my Council colleagues for once again supporting this lifesaving initiative and the NYPD for putting their lives on the line every day to keep our city safe.”
On the other side of the aisle, State Senator – and former New York City police officer – Marty Golden also applauded the mayor’s move.
“I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for this commitment to the personal safety of the men and women of the New York City Police Department,” he said. “This investment will be critical as we move forward as a city so to ensure the safety of our Finest.”
Likewise, Golden stressed, his dedication to securing bulletproof glass windows is unwavering.
“Additionally, I stand ready to work with my colleagues towards outfitting police vehicles with bulletproof glass windows,” he said of legislation – drafted by Golden, as well as Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis and Jim Tedisco in late December – that would require all police vehicles to have bullet-resistant glass, to be funded by the state’s current $5 billion surplus. “Together, these proposals are showing the police officers that we recognize and respect the sacrifice they make for us each and every day.”
Since 1978, de Blasio said, bulletproof vests have saved the lives of 87 NYPD officers. Going forward, the department will undertake a complete review of the optimal length of serviceability of vests to establish an appropriate replacement process.
“The hardworking men and women who make up the NYPD put their lives on the line each day to protect our city’s residents – and we owe these officers every possible protection as they patrol our city’s streets,” said the mayor from the 34th Precinct in Manhattan, where the allocation was announced. “This administration is fully committed to ensuring the safety of our city’s officers, and that means making sure all our bulletproof vests are in working order.
“We are allocating funds to this fiscal year so we can start buying vests immediately,” he went on, “providing our brothers and sisters in blue with life-saving protection right away.”