“You’ll get back up because the work of Police Officer Miosotis Familia is not finished. You’ll get back up because it’s our job to finish it.”
I cringe at the notion that the life of the NYPD cop and mother of three assassinated on July 5 could have been saved, had her department’s purchase of bulletproof glass arrived sooner. Moreover, the assassin’s girlfriend knew he was unhinged and hungry to kill a cop, so she called 911 and shared her impressions. Sadly, he walked off before NYPD cops could locate and talk with him. Perhaps a mental health care facilitation would mean Officer Miosotis Familia would be with her familia: twins and a third child in college. Going home to take care of her ailing mother. But none of it would come to pass.
At approximately 12:30 a.m. on July 5, Officer Familia, a 12-year police veteran, was assassinated by a single gunshot to the face/head in an ambush-style attack orchestrated by a paroled felon. He was killed by NYPD cops, but this story is not about him.
Video released today illustrates the killer walking up to the NYPD mobile command post, firing one shot through the door window, then fleeing down the street.
Fox News reported today that 2000 NYPD vehicles’ doors have been reinforced against gunfire, and only 500 pairs of bulletproof glass for its motor fleet have been completed thus far. Obviously, the NYPD mobile command post Officer Familia was sitting in yesterday was not outfitted yet. Had it been done, she’d be writing a police report regarding a crazed killer who tried to end her existence but failed to penetrate the special glass.
A similar incident resulting in both NYPD cops assassinated while sitting in their police cruiser also involved a mentally disturbed man with a hatred for police officers. That incident occurred in December 2014, when two cops perished in their patrol vehicle, after which the shooter took his life.
It is a chronic concern of law enforcement everywhere that officers are potentially targeted sitting in police vehicles. The New York Times reported that “in January the city allocated funding for bulletproof window panels on 3,800 cars and last month received its first delivery of 500 pairs of windows.” Surely, bullet-resistant protective properties can possibly alleviate tragedies such as these, and many taxpayers decry governments who are not investing in technology to save police lives.
Some of the equipment that will come at little to no cost is already in our possession, likely somewhere on a tract of land owned or rented by the Pentagon, and we already had positive gains from such a program…until the former administration saw it differently.
Military Surplus Program
OpsLens GM Mike Blakey, a highly experienced patriot who served admirably in the military and conducted numerous counterterrorism operations, reminded me of the Pentagon’s 1033 surplus program administered by the Defense Logistics Agency, which coordinates its “reutilization” program. It certainly relates to this issue, as the 1033 surplus program has in its inventory hundreds of vehicles likely already outfitted the way Officer Familia needed on July 5.
Traditionally, the 1033 program facilitates military inventory via grants and distributes items readily usable by law enforcement for little to nothing in return. Even with enormously inherent benefits, some super-sensitive sorts barked loud. Former president Obama listened.
In May 2015, The Hill published an article whose title “Obama bans some transfers of military hardware to police” summed it up. Essentially, the Obama administration restricted police departments from receiving military equipment via the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which gifted vehicles, night-vision optics, and heavy equipment to local cop shops. Obama banned police agencies from acquiring grenade launchers, high-caliber ammunition, guns, tracked armored vehicles, and armed aircraft.
A special Cabinet convened by Obama was charged with a study whose language purported a “substantial risk of misusing or overusing these items” translating to instances that “could significantly undermine community trust.” I respect the government’s response to its constituency as much as I respect the police role to serve and protect. And for the police to serve and protect in paramount fashion, any and all equipment to effectuate the job is necessary, despite overreaction claiming police look too military or too much like an occupying force. An occupying force rolls in and stays. American policing goes from call to call. The trend of hyperbolized and insinuated federalization disquieted the 1033 program. However, the Defense Logistics Agency still has its Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) in place to serve as a conduit between the Pentagon and police.
Since its 1990 inception, $5 billion in military surplus was distributed for reutilization, and it is foolish not to take advantage of what remains in a vast yard of usable protective equipment and defense weaponry. Although the Defense Logistics Agency authorized the 1033 program in 1990, “Congress later passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997; this act allows all law enforcement agencies to acquire property for bona fide law enforcement purposes that assist in their arrest and apprehension mission. Preference is given to counter-drug and counter-terrorism requests.”
Not to be fooled by those last words seemingly setting limitations, caveats exist thereby opening up the array of helpful tools and equipment to police for just about any purpose imaginable.
Hundreds of eager NYPD recruits were sworn in today and heard a fusion of upbeat and chilling words from NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill. It’s not necessarily how any new police officer wishes to celebrate a milestone and rite of passage, but swearing in the day after a cop is murdered serves as a stark reminder how fragile life is and how taking the oath engenders actions beyond testimonial words.
At today’s ceremonial swearing-in of 524 new NYPD cops, Police Commissioner O’Neill said, “Today you begin what I believe, what I know, is the greatest job in the world. One in which you can truly make a difference.”
The latest batch of NYPD police recruits will hit the streets in six months, with more resources than their predecessors had. Under the NYPD “Reengineering 2014” program titled “Safe Cops, Safer City,” the agency’s 34,450 sworn officers are purportedly better protected. The protective property installed in the doors of its RMPs (Radio Motor Patrol cars) is one such advancement. NYPD claims it is “conducting a pilot program on ballistic window inserts” which, by the sounds of it, may have sustained Officer Familia…had they been in place.
Today, Commissioner O’Neill tweeted, “Our Newest #NYPD recruits know that the important work of PO Familia is not finished; they bravely chosen to lead lives of significance.”
At the swearing-in ceremony, he also added,
“You’ll have days when your pride in this department and in yourselves and in your colleagues will lift you up like nothing else. But you’ll also have truly terrible days, days like we had yesterday when pain and grief push you down to a point where you’re not sure if you can get back up. But you will get back up. You’ll get back up because the work of Police Officer Miosotis Familia is not finished. You’ll get back up because it’s our job to finish it.”
Fidelis Ad Mortem
Fidelis Ad Mortem (“faithful until death”) is what the NYPD posted on its webpage yesterday, along with uniformed Officer Miosotis Familia’s police graduate photograph. In the picture, her eyes telegraph, “I am in…until death.” Confirmation came minutes after midnight on 05 July 2017. Sad but true.