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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Editorials    >    Mandatory Body Armor


Police and
Law Enforcement News

Wednesday, August 4, 2004  12:00 a.m.

In an article covering one of the recent shootings, it was mentioned that one agency is considering enacting a policy where patrol officers would be required to wear body armor.

What is troublesome is that such a policy need be implemented in 2004.


They are bulky, uncomfortable, awkward and they leave your t-shirt soaked at the end of the shift. They make some look fat and others hunchback.

But, for Christís sake, they stop bullets!

They also significantly reduce the impact of other weapons and hands to the chest, they frequently stop edged weapons, and in numerous instances, they have protected officersí vital organs in car accidents.

Also, we may be seeing the reemergence of unprovoked attacks on LEOís. Each day in the papers we are reading about gang-related shootings of officers around the country. 

In 2003, 146 officers died nationwide in the line of duty.

Back in the 70ís when anti-law enforcement groups flourished (including the one the took the life of Trooper Werner) the numbers were much higher. Below are the nationwide line of duty deaths from the early 70ís:

1970   216

1972   225

1974   275

1971   240

1973   261

1975   234

Many of these officers who fell didn't have access to the body armor we have today, and many didn't have access to body armor period.

Mandatory vest policies should be in place for all officers who work the road. Detectives, investigators, administrators and those in similar positions can have an amended policy so they are not forced to wear body armor when engaged in non-encounter duties, but some type of rule should cover them too for when they are engaged in crime fighting on the road. wholeheartedly endorses agency adopted policies requiring the wearing of body armor for road officers, corrections officers and all other LEOís likely to encounter dangerous persons.


Reader Comments

August 23, 2004

We buy our vests for our Officers and make it mandatory to wear while in is the Officers choice when in plain clothes for administrative duty.  We had an officer shot 14 years ago and he was the only one on duty with a vest, ever since then we have made it our policy to make it mandatory.  He is alive today and although he can't be a Police Officer he works as an administrative tech.


          -Tucson, Arizona


August 14, 2004

I'm sorry but I don't agree with you. I believe it should be the choice of the officer to wear the vest or not. Of course I believe it should be the choice of the driver if he wants to wear a seatbelt or not also. I believe too much time is wasted in so called seatbelt safety checks. I know the what the law says, but I think that should be left to the road officer to enforce when he makes a stop. I know I got off the subject, but it's all the same. You should make the decision.



August 10, 2004

I agree!! The NJ State Body Armor Replacement fund is giving out more than 3.4 Million Dollars for new vests. It should be required that if you use state money you MUST wesr the vest!!

I commend NJLawman for encouraging mandatory wearing of bullet resistant vest.

          -Det. James P. Gomez, WLBPD


August 5, 2004

With these gangs not caring about officers by going after them and their families. I am wearing my vest every time I wear my uniform no matter how hot it gets outside. I rather be a fried chicken then a dead duck!



August 5, 2004

Our admin loves to run out of the office when there's a hot call.  They'll grab rifles and shotguns, but not one will take the time to throw on a vest.



August 5, 2004

Yes, I agree we all should wear the vest that one day might save our live from the people that are trying to take ours just for the fun of it.


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