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Back to Archives | Back to October 2004 Contents 

Survivors' Club

Survivor's Club

By Anna Knight, Club Administrator, and Ron McBride, Chief of Police (Ret.) and Law Enforcement Consultant

The IACP/DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club® pays tribute to those deserving officers who have avoided serious or potentially fatal injuries through the use of any kind of body armor. This column is dedicated to sharing their experiences, in hopes of persuading others to wear their armor. If body armor has helped you or a member of your department survive such an accident or assault, please contact Anna Knight, Club Administrator, IACP/DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club®, 5401 Jefferson Davis Highway, Richmond, VA 23234; 804-383-3853; 800-441-2746; fax: 804-383-2477; e-mail:>
The Survivors’ Club application is also available on the IACP’s Web site, under Awards/Survivors’ Club.

Officer Survives Fall from Moving Vehicle

Officer Kevin J. Metcalf of the Lexington, Kentucky, Division of Police fell from a moving armored truck as he and other members of the emergency response team (ERT) were responding to the scene of a shooting.

ERT personnel were riding in the rear of the armored vehicle, which was traveling in a convoy with marked police units at a speed of 35 miles per hour. The driver braked suddenly to avoid a vehicle that had failed to yield to the convoy, and the sudden braking threw the members of the team forward.

Metcalf’s body struck the door and knocked it open, and he fell onto the roadway. Metcalf landed on his back and was dragged by the vehicle before breaking free. The rear wheels of the armored vehicle ran over his left foot. He came to rest in the median of the four-lane highway.

Team members rushed to assist him. He was able to stand without assistance, and the team proceeded to the shooting scene. Officer Metcalf was evacuated from the shooting scene to a regional hospital for examination. He had suffered a severe sprain with swelling and bruising to the ligaments on his left foot.

At the hospital, an inspection of Officer Metcalf’s personal ERT gear revealed that his Kevlar helmet had sustained two large gashes where it had struck the roadway. His outer gear also bore the marks of the fall. Officer Metcalf reported that had it not been for his ballistic helmet and tactical vest he would have suffered disabling or fatal injuries. Officer Metcalf has resumed his assigned duties with the Lexington Division of Police.

Vest Protects Officer from Two Bullets

Officer Willard Keith Stine of the Clay, Kentucky, Police Department was on night patrol when he observed a suspicious male wearing camouflage clothing walking in a cemetery. Stine directed him to stop, but the subject refused to comply and fled into a wooded area.

Stine and a backup officer, Webster County Deputy Sheriff Steve Madden, became separated during a search for the subject in the darkness. As Stine moved through the cemetery, a second subject popped up from behind a headstone five to six feet in front of him and fired a small-caliber handgun at the officer. Stine dropped his flashlight and was momentarily blinded by the muzzle flash. The subject immediately fired a second round. Both bullets were stopped by Stine’s protective body armor.

The shooter turned and fled on foot toward the woods. Stine fired one round from his service pistol but withheld subsequent shots out of concern about the exact location of Madden. State, county, and municipal law enforcement officers joined the hunt for the shooter. Witnesses later reported seeing two subjects, one in camouflage, run from the cemetery and later return. The investigation into the incident continues.

Officer Stine suffered two backface signature injuries but was not treated and has returned to full duty.

Officer Struck by Car

Officer Briana M. Rivera of the Shreveport, Louisiana, Police Department was struck by a vehicle as she attempted to cross a four-lane roadway while working at the scene of a motor vehicle crash.

Crash investigators determined that the speed of the vehicle that struck Rivera was roughly 25 miles per hour at the moment of impact. Rivera was struck by the left front bumper and slid across the hood. Her body and police equipment dented the metal, and she collided with the windshield, shattering the glass.

Rivera was transported for emergency medical care. Medical examination revealed that she suffered muscular injuries to her right leg. Rivera soft body armor protected her from worse injury. The attending physician said, “Thankfully, she was wearing a bulletproof vest that took the blunt [force] from her chest.”

Officer Rivera returned to full duty. The crash investigator determined that the driver of the vehicle was operating with reasonable care and no enforcement action resulted.

Although manufacturers of bullet-resistant vests engineer their products to meet ballistic standards, history shows that such garments also provide limited protection against other threats, such as club and knife assaults (will not protect against sharp, pointed knives or ice picks), automobile accidents, motorcycle spills, falls, fires, explosions, etc. Nothing offers total protection, but personal body armor will improve the odds of surviving many of the life-threatening incidents constantly facing law officers.


From The Police Chief, vol. 71, no. 10, October 2004. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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