NEW YORK (AP) – A group of City Council members called on Sunday for the city to spend nearly $10 million on state-of-the-art body armor for police, saying 18,000 officers are using outdated models that don’t provide adequate protection.

“We need to take every step to make sure these brave men and women have the tools and equipment they need to stay safe,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn told a news conference at City Hall.

Quinn, a Manhattan Democrat, said the purchase of new bulletproof vests was a “critical step” to ensure that.

The proposal was in response to recent council testimony by police Commissioner Ray Kelly that only half the city’s 36,000 police officers were equipped with Level 3A vests, the most advanced technology available.

That testimony came after the Nov. 28, 2005, death of a police officer who was wearing a protective vest. The bullet that killed Officer Dillon Stewart during a traffic stop altercation entered his body through an armhole in the vest.

The Level 3A vests have more coverage by bullet-resistant material to better protect the wearer’s chest and sides.

The president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, said the old Level 2 vests are “in dire need of an upgrade” and praised the investment.

“We live in an age when criminals don’t think twice about shooting at police officers,” he said.