$7.3 million proposed to replace NYPD bulletproof vests

NYC Mayor Police Graduation
An additional $7.3 million in funding was proposed to replace some of the NYPD's current stock of bulletproof vests. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Anna Sanders | asanders@siadvance.comBy Anna Sanders | asanders@siadvance.com 
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on January 15, 2015 at 1:36 PM, updated January 15, 2015 at 6:34 PM
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CITY HALL -- An additional $7.3 million in funding was proposed to replace some of the NYPD's current stock of bulletproof vests.
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan/Bronx) and other lawmakers announced on Thursday that the City Council will seek a $7.3 million allocation in the 2016 fiscal year preliminary budget to replace about 13,000 vests. Each one will cost about $600.
The announcement comes days after a report that thousands officers have been wearing outdated vests, which can become less safe over time.
"We must ensure that the brave men and women of the NYPD have all the resources they need to stay safe when they are out protecting New Yorkers," Ms. Mark-Viverito said in a statement.
The Council will also seek additional funds in the future to replace the rest of the force's vests. Every member of the NYPD is assigned a vest.
Mayor Bill de Blasio will outline his preliminary budget proposal for fiscal year 2016 in February.
"Ensuring the safety of NYPD officers is paramount," de Blasio spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said. "The Mayor looks forward to working with the City Council and including this proposal in his preliminary budget next month."
The money would be used to standardize the vest inventory. The city will review the optimal length of serviceability of vests in order to establish a regular replacement schedule going forward.
De Blasio and Ms. Mark-Viverito were part of a 2006 push to acquire new bulletproof vests when they were in the Council together.
The vests have saved 87 lives since 1978, according to the NYPD. That includes stabbings.
The head of the union representing rank-and-file officers, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch, reiterated his support for more vests and a consistent funding stream for them.
"Bullet resistant vests are essential to protecting the men and women who have dedicated their lives to keeping this city safe and we are grateful to the City Council for the funding," Lynch said in a statement.
Last year, the Council  pushed fund the hiring of 1,000 more police officers in this fiscal year's budget. De Blasio said at the time that he believes the current NYPD headcount of 35,000 officers is adequate.
The body's recommendation was ultimately not included in the $75 billion budget agreement. Instead, 200 officers were shifted from desk jobs and deployed to street and housing patrol positions.