Body Armor Update

By Spaulding, Dave | Law & Order, February 2001 | Go to article overview

Body Armor Update


Spaulding, Dave, Law & Order


Upon entering a new century of law enforcement, it is surprising to find a large number of police officers still do not wear body armor. All members of American law enforcement should have access to protective apparel. The reason officers are not wearing it, whether it's a lack of funding or personal comfort, is somewhat a mystery. While it is true that body armor is expensive, it is nowhere near as costly as an officer's funeral.

Assistance in purchasing body armor is available through the U.S. Justice Department's Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Act of 1998. This program is administered through the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). To be eligible for the program, the vest must be purchased for "any officer, agent, or employee of a State, unit of local government, or Indian tribe authorized by law or by a government agency to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, or investigation of any violation of criminal law, or authorized by law to supervise sentenced criminal offenders." It does not matter if such officers are full or part time.

Applications must be submitted by, or on behalf of, the jurisdiction's chief executive. Jurisdictions, considered the most basic level of government, include towns, cities, villages, boroughs, parishes, townships, counties or states.

The program is designed to pay up to 50% of the cost of NJ-approved vests contained in a jurisdictions application. Information for the program can be obtained on the Internet at www.vests.ojp.gov or by calling the U.S. Department of Justice Response Center at (800) 421-6770.

In regard to comfort, vests fit better than ever before. While being lighter in weight and more flexible, current models of body armor are also thinner and offer enhanced ballistic capability. The number of companies offering quality armor has grown considerably. Each offers features that will appeal to a wide variety of officers and agencies.

American Body Armor

American Body Armor (ABA) has been in business since 1969 and offers one of the widest selections of protecting apparel available. Its latest addition to the market is called Xtreme Armor. The Xtreme line includes the original Xtreme model, the Xtreme IIA Performax, Xtreme X and Xtreme ZX variations. The latter two models are manufactured with what ABA calls "the world's most advanced ballistic material," ZSHIELDTM with QuadraLinkTM Zylon. Zylon is said to be the strongest fiber known to science, producing "the most revolutionary ballistic material in history."

The Xtreme line also offers a lightweight carrier designed for comfort. The anti-microbial Olefin ballistic cover is resistant to chemicals, sweat, mildew and weather. The new carrier is available in four colors: graphite, navy, tan and white.

U.S. Armor Corporation

U.S. Armor Corporation showed the latest in correctional armor made to the new, more realistic NIJ Anti-Stab Standard that was just introduced a few months ago. Vests were shown in all three "Protection Levels," and in Concealable, Lightweight Tactical and Prison Riot Vest styles.

U.S. Armor also introduced the new Breacher Blanket, developed for the rapidly growing use of safe, explosive entries by tactical teams into fortified narcotics houses and other criminal fortresses. The Bomb Blanket and EOD Range Disposal Vest were made to combat the rise in accidental detonations of explosives when handled by EOD personnel, who are experiencing a dramatic increase in discovering unstable explosive devices made by unskilled, would-be domestic terrorists.

Force One

The Force One Commander Vest represents a premium combination of cuttingedge materials and superior design in a very concealable package.

The Commander is a hybrid vest, produced with a combination of Zylon and GoldflexTM ballistic fabrics. This combination of lightweight and flexible protection has proven to be quite comfortable. …

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