Newsday
Updated July 6, 2017 8:48 PM


NYPD command vehicles will be bulletproof by year's end, mayor's office says

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A bullet-shattered window can be seen in the command post vehicle where NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia was shot early Wednesday morning, July 5, 2017 in the Bronx. The officer later died. Photo Credit: John Roca

The city will invest $1.3 million to ensure that all 72 of the NYPD's mobile command vehicles are bulletproof by the end of the year, Mayor Bill de Blasio's office announced Thursday.

The decision comes amid renewed attention on the issue following the death of NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia, who was fatally shot while sitting in an NYPD command vehicle in the Bronx early Wednesday morning.

The front windshields will be the only part of the vehicles that can't be retrofitted, the mayor's office said, because the curve of the windshield doesn't allow for the current technology to work properly.

“Together, as we mourn the loss of Officer Familia, we are reminded of our sense of community and that the safety of our men and women in blue who patrol our city every day to protect the lives of New Yorkers is paramount,” de Blasio said in an emailed statement.

A spokeswoman for the mayor's office said the safety upgrades would start "right away."

In the wake of the shooting deaths of NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in December 2014, the city committed $6.8 million in funding for bullet-resistant panels to be retrofitted onto over 3,800 patrol cars. But command vehicles and other fixed posts were not included in that original plan.

More than 2,000 of those 3,800 vehicles in the initial plan have since been retrofitted, and the city said it expects every patrol car to feature the bullet-resistant panels by the end of the year.

In addition to the panels, 500 patrol vehicles will have bullet-resistant windows by the end of July, the mayor's office said.

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said earlier Thursday the department was rethinking its initial plan for bulletproofing vehicles in the wake of Familia's death.

"Anytime there’s a tragedy we always talk about learning from that tragedy,” O’Neill said at an unrelated event Thursday afternoon.

Following the announcement, O'Neill said that as they investigate Familia's murder the department would continue to look at any other additional safety measures that might prevent a similar attack from happening again.

"My goal as the police commissioner is to do whatever I can to protect and equip our police officers. This added ballistic protection will do just that," O'Neill said in an emailed statement.

Mobile command vehicles are often used at large-scale events so that police can operate out of a central point on scene, an NYPD spokesman said. They can also be used as deterrents in neighborhoods that have seen a spike in crime.

O'Neill had said the command center that Familia was in was stationed near the intersection of Morris Avenue and East 183rd Street in Fordham Heights back in March due to a number of “gang and crew shootings” in the area.

The shooter, Alexander Bonds, was killed about a block away from where he shot Familia after he fired at officers who were responding to the scene, police said.

As the investigation into the shooting continues, a high-ranking police official said the motive appeared to be nothing more than Bonds' hatred for law enforcement. A search of his Bronx apartment also turned up antidepressant and antipsychotic medications, though it was unclear if Bonds was taking them, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.

With Alison Fox and Nicole Brown