Officer Safety Corner: Body Armor Designed to Safeguard Officers’ Lives

Body armor saves lives. The International Association of Chiefs of Police/DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club reports that more than 3,100 officers’ lives have been saved since 1975, thanks to body armor. Research published by the RAND Corporation in 2010 indicates that, if shot in the torso, an officer who is not wearing body armor is over three times more likely to suffer a fatal injury than an officer who is wearing body armor. Furthermore, data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted shows that, in the 26 years from 1987 to 2012, only one felonious fatality has been reported in the United States due to an ammunition round penetrating a body armor vest rated to match or protect against such a threat. That fatality resulted from a hit at the very edge of the body armor, where it is not expected to stop a bullet.