New York City will supply bullet-resistant vests to its 4,500 auxiliary police officers, reports the New York Times. Two weeks ago, two of the unarmed volunteers were gunned down in Greenwich Village. Providing the vests will take roughly nine months and will have an initial cost of $3.3 million, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “It was awful, cold-blooded, a crime that shocked our entire city, but now we are determined to turn that pain into a force for good,” he said. He called the auxiliary officers “the eyes and the ears” of the Police Department.
It will be the biggest change in decades in how the city equips auxiliary officers. “Regrettably, it took a tragedy of this magnitude to get us to focus our attention on the need to increase protection for auxiliary police officers,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. He noted that the circumstances of the deaths of the two officers were such that bulletproof vests would not have protected them. Seven auxiliary officers have been slain in the line of duty.