Safe Or Scary? The NYPD Gets Militarized
After the unfortunate events in Baton Rouge and Dallas, the New York City Police Department is taking extra precautions to protect their officers. In a press conference held yesterday, Commissioner Bill Bratton announced that the department has spent $7.5 million on military-grade equipment.
As the “most prepared city in America,” according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the new gear includes 6,000 bulletproof vests, 20,000 helmets, trauma kits and ballistic doors and windows for cop cars. Talk about a splurge.
“There’s not a police department in America that’s spending as much money, as much thought and interest on this issue of officer safety,” Bratton said at the press conference.
As New York is a major city the smartest thing is to be as prepared as Bratton and de Blasio are getting. The shooting attacks on officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas are not isolated, and protecting the men and women that protect the rest of us should not mean they have to die every time they leave their homes.
But when we’re talking about #BlueLivesMatter, we also have to talk about the lives that feel endangered by police. According to the preliminary NYPD Financial Summary for 2016, $103, 305 was to be spent on training, which seems to be most involved with physically getting to the scene (stair climb, pursuit run and victim rescue). On their training page, the NYPD doesn’t talk about the actual engagement of cop to alleged criminal, which is the main source of the problem in the fight against police departments. The implications of such a massive upgrade for the police could be quite frightening.
It’s still important to try and protect them—they’re not all ignorant. Not only does the new equipment protect the officers more, but they’ll also be prepared for an active shooter situation, instead of waiting for SWAT teams to arrive. The NYPD currently has 34,500 officers, who will now all be trained on how to use the equipment and put it on quickly.
The bulletproof vests would be thrown on officers on top of the light vests they already wear underneath their uniforms. Commissioner Bratton added that the helmets are “very similar to those that are worn by U.S. soldiers in combat,” at about 7 pounds alone.
According to AM New York, “The department expects to start receiving the new equipment by September, about $5 million of which is covered by the NYPD’s budget and another $2.5 million from the Office of Management and Budget.”
“It all adds up to a capacity that’s unsurpassed in this nation. We will keep making those investments, and my message to all the members of the NYPD and especially to their families: that we value the safety of our officers and we will put the resources in play to keep our officers safe,” de Blasio said.
Stay tuned for more police-centric news.
Photos via the Mayors Photography Office.