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Close to the Vest

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 24 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2000 Pages: 26-29
Adam Kasanof
Date Published
September 2000
4 pages
Choosing and buying body armor requires that police agencies consider several basic issues related to the effectiveness in stopping the bullets, comfort, and affordability.
The vest should stop the round that the agency uses in its handguns, as well as other rounds that police officers are likely to encounter. The National Institute of Justice, major vest manufacturers, and major manufacturers of bullet-resistant materials are sources of information. Other police agencies can also explain how they decided which vest to buy, what issues have arisen concerning the vest they use, and other factors. The central elements of vest comfort are weight, coolness, flexibility, fit, tightness, and cut or design. Police agencies should consider using a wear test to make sure the vest is comfortable. Potential ways to make vests affordable include Federal and State grants, private donations, trade-ins to manufacturers, purchasing under other agencies’ contracts, a bid process with vest specifications, and negotiations with manufacturers. Police agencies should also allow officers to wear their own, privately purchased vests if the vests provide protection comparable to or greater than the vests that the agency issues. Photographs


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