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Body Armor: Protecting the Protectors

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 49 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2001 Pages: 131-134
Aaron Westrick
Date Published
July 2001
4 pages
This article examines different types of body armor for police officers.
Since 1980, an estimated 1,804 police officers have died on duty. Approximately 90 percent of the officers feloniously killed were killed with firearms. The vast majority of the bullets (approximately 82 percent) fired at officers could have been stopped with concealable soft body armor. As concealable body armor has become more accepted in the police culture, deaths have decreased. While the concealed body armor worn by officers can stop the vast majority of pistols, revolvers, and shotguns, some criminals are now starting to use heavier arms in the form of assault rifles. The article claimed that a major problem was the officers who ignored intelligence warnings and went into rifle fights with lighter arms (and armor) than their adversaries. The article also briefly described body armor intended to protect officers against attacks, usually in correctional settings, with knives and other edged weapons. As more law enforcement officers wear body armor, the number of officers killed is decreasing. To protect officers against head wounds, the article recommends use of impact and ballistic helmets. It describes specific armor types for patrol, tactical, and corrections officers.


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