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July 10, 2017

City Now Bulletproofs Command Vehicles In Response to Murder

By Mark Toor

In the wake of the murder of Police Officer Miosotis Familia as she sat in a mobile command post, Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD announced July 6 that the city will spend $1.3 million to install bulletproof door panels and window inserts in all 72 command vehicles.

Officer Familia was in the passenger seat of the RV-like command post filling in her memo book about 12:30 a.m. the previous night when a mentally-ill career criminal, Alexander Bonds, approach­ed the vehicle and without warning fired a bullet through the window into her head. He was shot to death minutes later when he drew his stolen revolver on other officers, police said.

Already Fortifying Doors

The city is in the process of installing bullet-resistant door panels on the city’s 3,813 patrol cars, and has so far completed 45 percent of them. Bullet-resistant window inserts will be installed in the cars as well, with the first 500 to be completed this month, the Mayor’s Office said.

The city allocated $6.8 million for the bullet-resistant panels in patrol cars and $10.4 million for the window inserts.

The installations in mobile command vehicles will build “on this administration’s previous commitment towards outfitting NYPD patrol vehicles with safety measures that allow our officers to do their jobs, and it is fundamental that we continue to identify ways to keep them safe,” Mr. de Blasio said in a statement.

“As we learn more from the senseless murder of Police Officer Familia, we will continue to look at any additional measures the department can take to protect those who protect us,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill.

Windshields Vulnerable

The front windshields of the command vehicles will not be protected, as current technology does not accommodate the curvature, according to the Mayor’s Office. The project will be paid for by a combination of tax revenues and asset-forfeiture funds.

The push for strengthening windows and doors of patrol cars started after the assassinations in December 2014 of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Another men­tally-ill ex-convict sneak­ed up on their parked patrol car and fired through an open window. The shooter then fled to a nearby subway station, where he killed himself.

Mobile command vehicles are used at major events such as demonstrations and explosions, and also to underscore police presence at crime-prone locations. The vehicle in which Officer Familia sat had been parked at the corner of Morris Ave. and East 183rd St. because of increased gang activity in the area, Mr. O’Neill said.