Why Every Police Officer Should Wear Body Armor
Police officers are expected to serve and protect while risking it all in the line of duty. Shooting reactive targets on the practice range is a far cry from the on-duty experiences that law enforcement faces on a daily basis. Over the past ten years there have been close to 60,000 physical assaults on members of the police, according to data from government sources. Last year, more than 65 police officers died as a result of criminal actions, and 62 of those were killed by a gunshot. The need for adequate protection for all police officers couldn?t be clearer.
Body armor clothing can play a significant role in saving the lives of those who have sworn to protect the public. In fact, over a 30 year span, more than 3,000 police lives have been spared as a result of bulletproof body armor and other forms of protective clothing. Shootings are the second leading cause of death for law enforcement officer, after car accidents, with gunshots making up more than 33% of all police officer deaths in the last decade.
In New York City alone body armor clothing has been responsible for saving the lives of 87 law enforcement officers in the period since 1978. Those who do not wear ballistic body armor are 3.4 times more likely to die from a gunshot wound than those who do wear police duty gear. No body armor is 100% effective against all types of ammunition, but most types of body armor can offer protection against certain bullet types, while other types offer resistance against other weapons such as knives. Although as much as 71% of all local police departments required that such body armor clothing is worn as of 2013 statistics, there are still many that don?t.
Ensuring that all police officers are afforded the opportunity to use this saving gear is vital to the continued effectiveness of the police force, yet falling police budgets make it difficult for all departments to do so. Law enforcement safety should be a priority to safeguard police so that they can continue to do their job. By lobbying local departments and government, the public can play a role in ensuring that police officers have the tools needed to do their jobs effectively and safely.