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Back In Their Good Graces? De Blasio Orders High-End Bulletproof Vests For NYPD Officers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It's a pro-police move by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

He's not only going to get NYPD officers new bulletproof vests, he's ordering the high-end model that is made to protect against shotgun blasts, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Friday.

Nearly two months after two cops were murdered and some members of the Police Department turned their backs on him, de Blasio is trying, again, to make amends.

He announced that the city will buy new bulletproof vests to replace equipment that is out of date or worn out.

"Every cop takes an oath. We have an obligation to them to make sure they get home safely at night," the mayor said.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton explained that over the next 18 months about 21,000 cops will get new safety vests -- and not just any old vest. They will be receiving new and improved vests that come with a special metal plate. Bratton calls them the "Rolls Royce" of vests.

Back In Their Good Graces? De Blasio Orders High-End Bulletproof Vests For NYPD Officers

"Ceramic plate can repel a knife thrust or even bullets from long guns and rifles," Bratton said.

The vests were first sought by the City Council, but the governing body ran into trouble with the men and women of the NYPD when it actively protested the grand jury's decision not to indict in the Eric Garner chokehold case.

De Blasio Orders High-End Bulletproof Vests For NYPD Officers

Although all the police union heads were invited to Friday's press conference, only Detectives Endowment Association president Michael Palladino showed up. Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch later issued the following statement:

"Today's announcement is the culmination of years of working with the City Council and the Mayor's Office to ensure that our members have the best protection bullet-resistant vests available as they do the dangerous work of protecting the city," Lynch said. "We've been fighting for a replacement and upgrade system since the Council approved funding for the level 3A vests with the side panels in 2006. We are grateful that the mayor and speaker heard our urgent call to purchase the vests immediately rather than to delay their purchase until FY 16, which is months away. We hope this represents the first of many actions that demonstrate City Hall's true support for New York City police officers."

The mayor made it a point to show the cops that the city acted quickly once it discovered the vests were outliving their five-year warranty.

"We want to keep our officers safe," de Blasio said.

The city is earmarking an initial $7.3 million for the vests, which, with the new plates, will cost more than $700 each.

Officials told Kramer that the lives of 87 police officers have been saved by the vests since 1978.

The city said funding for the new vests is immediately available. The first 6,400 cops will be custom-fitted next month and get the new vests by mid-May.

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