The tools we use can mean the difference between life or death. This holds true for many in the construction industry, a field that’s known for its high rates of dangerous slips and falls, as well as the sewage management industry. Body armor for law enforcement is no different. This is the physical barrier between fists, knives and even bullets during an unexpected event — even a minor lapse in quality could sentence the wearer to a premature death. What should every officer know about the steel targets and body armor they need to get through the day in one piece?
An officer needs to go through different forms of training to remain in top shape. Steel targets and reactive targets provide a ‘battleground’, of sorts, for new trainees to adapt to. But even the best steel targets aren’t enough to keep some of the more virulent dangers at bay. Bulletproof body armor is underappreciated for its presumed infallibility, that of which can put many people (both serving and not serving) at risk. The last decade has seen over 60,000 assaults cropping up around the country. It’s best to stay prepared.
What does ballistic body armor and body armor levels do for the officers serving? It provides them a better idea of what they’ll be up against with simple grades for each and every situation. Some forms of armor are best used in the day-to-day, while other forms are preferred for already violent situations. Nonetheless, every last form of body armor clothing needs to be well-maintained to handle anything that comes their way. Over one-third of deaths in local law enforcement in the past decade alone were from bullet wounds.
Did you know over 20% of the officers who died from a gunshot wound in the torso while they were wearing body armor had inferior equipment? Just like any other form of clothing or tool, body armor plates can lose their durability over time and succumb to wear and tear. The chance of dying from a torso wound is nearly four times higher for officers that don’t wear a vest. This number is still higher when said armor is not strong enough to stop the impact of a bullet.
As it stands, armored vests have saved the lives of over 3,000 law enforcement officers over the past 30 years. New York City alone saw nearly 90 officers being saved through high-quality body armor since the late 1970’s. According to studies provided by the Bureau Of Justice Statistics, over 70% of local police departments a few years back required all officers to wear armor at all times. These numbers will only grow higher as safety concerns rise and knowledge of weak equipment spreads.
While steel targets can improve an officer’s aim and help them react more meaningfully in a dangerous situation, learning how to maintain (and when to outright replace) body armor will keep them safe in a dangerous situation.