he 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: Anna.G.Knight-1@ USA.dupont.com.
The Survivors' Club application is also available on the IACP's Web site, (www.theiacp.org), under Awards/Survivors' Club.
Officer's Shield Stops Bullet
Corporal Barton J. Seelig of the York, Pennsylvania, Police Department responded with the York City/County Quick Response Team (QRT) to a residence where a 24-year-old male had threatened his mother with a handgun and barricaded himself in a bedroom. At the scene, Seelig forced open a window to allow police to have direct communication with the barricaded suspect.
As he did so, the suspect fired at least three shots from a .25-caliber pistol. Seelig allowed the other members of QRT to find better cover and he then withdrew.
After reaching a secure location, Seelig inspected the ballistic shield he had been carrying while he opened the window and found that it had stopped one of the bullets fired by the suspect and had protected the officer from likely serious physical injuries or death. Seelig was not injured and continued on duty.
Members of QRT employed CS gas, and the suspect attempted to flee from the residence by crawling out a broken window. He was arrested with no officers injured. The suspect was treated for cuts he received from the broken window and was jailed and charged with attempted murder, firearms violations, and other criminal offenses.
Vest Saves Officer Struck by Vehicle
Trooper Keith C. Carlson of the Michigan State Police stopped to aid a stranded motorist that had run off an icy road. Carlson parked his patrol car and was walking toward the stranded vehicle when the sound of a collision caused him to turn around.
An out-of-control vehicle had struck his parked car, sending a cloud of glass and other debris airborne, and then struck Carlson. The collision hurled his body into the air and he landed on a fence.
Emergency responders transported Carlson to a hospital in Toledo, Ohio, where he remained overnight. Attending doctors determined that he had suffered extensive bruising on his left arm, hip, and leg but suffered no injuries to his vital organs or factures. Carlson credits his body armor for saving him from more serious physical injuries. He has returned to duty.
The operator of the vehicle that struck Carlson was a 17-year-old girl. She was found guilty of failing to show care when passing a stationary emergency vehicle.
Vest Deflects Shot Fired at Officer at Close Range
Officer Matthew V. Richard of the Houston Police Department, along with his partner and supervisor, were serving a warrant on convicted felon for being in possession of a firearm. At the felon's residence, Richard, a member of the tactical team, knocked and announced police presence. The wanted man looked out a window at the officers and then retreated into the interior of the house. Without delay, Richard forced the door open and entered. He encountered the suspect, who had a 9mm pistol in his hand, and withdrew to cover behind a vehicle.
The wanted man fired at Richard, who had not visually acquired the shooter after taking cover, and then went on the offensive. The suspect rounded the back of the vehicle and took Richard under direct fire. Bullets struck Richard in the leg, hip, and chest.
The torso shot, the deadliest hit, was on the edge of his body armor below his armpit. This round was deflected from making a full penetration into his body. One round fired by the suspect hit Richard's flashlight and was stopped.
The suspect fled the scene and authorities undertook a major manhunt to find him. Police arrested the shooter and charged him with aggravated assault on a public servant. This matter is currently before the courts.
Officer Richard was treated for his gunshot wounds and continues his career with the Houston Police Department. ■