Body Armor? Require It! No Excuses

Article excerpt

Soft body armor has saved the lives of 2500 police officers since its introduction in the early 1970s. Yet many police officers still don't wear armor. In fact, industry surveys show that just half of police officers wear body armor.

Armor has a perfect safety record: no soft body armor has ever been defeated by a bullet it was rated to stop. And armor is clearly needed. According to the FBI, more than 40% of felonious officer deaths could have been prevented by the use of soft body armor. Half of the time, an officer finds out he is involved in a gunfight only after the violator shoots. In these cases, their only chance of survival, their only counter measure, is body armor.

Of course, armor protects against threats other than bullets. According to one body armor manufacturer, no police officer has ever been killed by a knife penetrating ballistic armor. In fact, 12% of armor "saves" are against edged weapons. Armor has also saved many officers from blunt objects, such as steering wheels. Urban police officers are six times more likely than other motorists to become involved in car accidents. Air bags offer protection but are designed to work with seat belts, which are seldom worn by police officers. …