Cities like Schenectady have enough trouble paying their bills without having to worry where money to protect their police officers is coming from.
So we applaud Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's efforts to help cities pay for bullet-proof vests.
The state's new inVEST Partnership will use money garnered from crime and civil forfeitures — not taxpayer dollars — to help restore $3.5 million in aid that was once provided to localities by the federal government for vests. The program is expected to provide 6,000 to 10,000 vests, which can cost $400 and up apiece. The matching-funds program would help cities like Schenectady offset the costs of protecting their officers with the vests.
In the past 30 years, more than 3,000 officers have been saved by bullet-proof vests. In that same time, 71 officers have been shot to death in New York. Officers who don't routinely wear body armor are 3.4 times more likely to suffer a fatal injury from a torso shot than those who do.
Protecting the people who protect us shouldn't come down to whether taxpayers can afford it.
This program is necessary and welcome.