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Former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton came up with the idea of equipping police cars with bulletproof side windows back in 2014. This happened after two police officers were killed in their squad cars and Officer Brian Moore was killed. The latest killing of Officer Miosis Familia by former prisoner Alexander Bond on 4 July 2017 contributed to the closure of the facility under the order of Mayor de Blasio. He said the facility was built to protect the police officers who normally put their life on the line. An ex-cop by the name of Sen. Martin Golden also pushed for the funding of the program together with the leader of the Senate Majority, John Flanagan. The bullet proof windows were to be installed at the back part of the driver and passenger windows but it cannot be rolled down. The program for the installation was then started in 2016 but it stalled because the city was not ready to sign off the window inserts for 6.8 million dollars. In the recent times however, the city has signed off 10.4 million dollars for the installation. (NYC, 2017).
The Police Commissioner, James O’Neil had a meeting with the police officers on 1 February 2017 to talk about some improvements they were considering to make. He stated that for the officers to be effective, they needed the latest technologies and better training. He stated that they were planning to get six more outdoor ranges and they were to be fitted with sound barriers so as not to disturb the residents living around the ranges with sounds of gunfire. This would consequently improve their relationship with the people (Gonen, 2017). He also stated that they were to transition from static training to tactical training in order to improve their operations. An additional tactical village and training facility had also been planned so as to facilitate the training. The commissioner added that basic utilities such as gas and water would be upgraded as well as drainages, roadways and security gates. Moreover, he mentioned the installation of bullet proof windows and door panels for protection of the officers. After the killing of Officer Familia, he said that the police have a lot of burden to carry due to the failure of the society, which includes drug abuse, among others. He, therefore, advised the residents to stop the hatred for the police since it would always lead to death of innocent people. (NYC, 2017).
At the start of the month of July, the installation of the bullet proof windows begun. About 151 vehicles have already been fitted with additional equipment as part of the upgrade. The vehicles have been fitted with anti-ballistic glass. However, the Bronx, which is the type of car through which Officer Familia was shot, have not been upgraded and as per the current situation, they will not get the upgrade. Currently, the 151 patrol vehicles add up to less than 2% of the total vehicles, which are about 9,903, including trucks and support vehicles, among others. In addition to that, about 2,200 more patrol vehicles have been fitted with ballistic panels at the doors on the exterior. This will act as protection from gunfire. In total, the percentage adds up to 23% of upgraded cars. The shipment of the bullet proof glass windows arrived about two weeks ago and delivered 500 pairs. (PoliceOne, 2017).
The police spokesman, Lt. John Grimpel stated that the department will continue to equip the enforcement vehicles with more ballistic protection. He also stated that additional vehicles will continue to be upgraded as more equipment becomes available. At the pilot program, sixty police vehicles were fitted with the ballistic panels. This soon expanded after the officers approved of the installation. The installation will be such that the windows at the front seats will have thickness of about 2 inches and will only protect the part of the window which only covers the heads of the occupants. The ballistic-glass door panel only covers the midsection of the front doors. The only windows which will not receive the upgrade are the windshield, back window and rear window. The reason that the doors are receiving the upgrade is so as to provide protection for the police officers when they get out of their vehicles during a fire exchange. The panels will be really resourceful since they are removable and can be fitted in other vehicles. However, this process has faced a funding problem since the panels are really expensive as they cost about 4,200 dollars per vehicle. The New York Police Department has a huge fleet of vehicles and therefore, a large amount of money will be required (PoliceOne, 2017).
The installation of the bullet proof windows on the police cars has been received by the lawmakers, police and the general public. They are all of the same views that this will prevent the death of innocent victims who are just doing their work. They feel that the police officers should also receive protection as they sacrifice themselves and put their lives on the line when they put on their police uniforms and go after criminals. This process has begun after an outcry of the death of several officers in the city over several years. The safety of the bullet proof window is enhanced through additional layers of glass. These layers strengthen the windows such that they are not broken easily. They are also able to withstand several rounds of bullets and other objects. Another advantage is that, they are removable and therefore, it will be resourceful since not all vehicles need to be installed with them as they can be replaced. All the advantages taken into consideration, it is evident that the police will be safer and will be more effective in offering their services, despite the cost and the time taken for the installation. These are some of the advantages that have led people to support the installation program. (Campanile, 2017)
If I was one of the people involved in the installation program, I would encourage the installation of the ballistic equipment in all vehicles without excluding any of them as they have done to the Bronx. This is because, these types of vehicles would be targets for criminals. I would also install the equipment in all windows of the cars since criminals will be targeting those windows when shooting. This will still cause deaths as it would be easy to shoot through them.
In conclusion, we have seen that it is a good idea to install police vehicles with bullet proof vehicles as they are also prone to attacks. The support that the program is receiving is a good step to a better future for everyone.
Campanile, C. (2017). Senate secures $4M to bulletproof NYPD cop cars. Retrieved 14 July 2017, from http://nypost.com/2017/07/10/senate-secures-4m-to-bulletproof-nypd-cop-cars/
Gonen, Y. (2017). NYPD to install bulletproof windows in all patrol cars. Retrieved 14 July 2017, from http://nypost.com/2017/01/23/nypd-to-install-bulletproof-windows-in-all-patrol-cars/
NYC (2017). Mayor de Blasio Announces $275 Million Investment to Rodman's Neck Training Complex. Retrieved 14 July 2017, from http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/060-17/mayor-de-blasio-police-commissioner-o-neill-275-million-investment-rodman-s-neck#/0
PoliceOne (2017). NYPD to install bullet-resistant windows in all patrol cars. Retrieved 14 July 2017, from https://www.policeone.com/police-products/vehicle-equipment/partitions/articles/283379006-NYPD-to-install-bullet-resistant-windows-in-all-patrol-cars/
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