Why should I wear body armor?

By Ronald McBride, IACP/DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club — for LION Connects

A compelling answer is contained in an FBI report of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted.

The report concludes:

“Based on an in-depth analysis of situations and circumstances surrounding assaults on police officers, the risk of sustaining a fatal injury for officers who do not routinely wear body armor is 14 times greater than for officers who do.”

Body armor is effective in protecting police officers from a variety of threats. Of the documented saves, nearly half involve threats other than ballistic. Two cases illustrate this point.

Recently, two members of the Ontario Provincial Police were ambushed by a mentally deranged male that lured the officers into a home. The suspect ignited a petroleum based concoction that he had spread on the floor. The officers were critically injured but body armor protected their torsos from burns. This drastically reduced the threat of infection and permitted the harvesting of skin from the non-burned areas for use in skin grafts.

Body armor also protected a trooper snagged by a highway divider cable ensnarled by the trailer of an 18-wheeler. The trooper’s body was whipped about until he was smashed into the top of his patrol car. The trooper’s body armor protected his torso from the force of the impact and spared his life.

When worn, body armor saves lives. There are more than 3,000 documented instances in which police officers avoided serious injury or death because they dressed for survival – they strapped on body armor.

Why would anyone take a chance on their life by not?

Is it your department’s policy to require the wearing of body armor?

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(Editor’s note: Ronald McBride is a retired chief of police with 35 years of municipal police service. He joined the IACP/DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club® team in 2001. This organization is a unique partnership between the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and DuPont™ to encourage wearing of body armor as a means to decrease police disabilities and deaths.)

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