Why is tactical body armor important? Read on to learn all about law enforcement safety and what police tactical gear has to do with it.
Our Police Are Under Assault
Government data shows that in the last 10 years there were almost 60,000 assaults on law enforcement. In 2016 there were 66 officers killed in the line of duty, according to FBI data. Of those who were killed, 62 were killed with firearms. In fact, more than a third of all law enforcement officers killed in the last decade were killed with guns, making shooting the second most common cause of death in the line of duty, after car crashes. The FBI found that in the last 10 years, 33 police officers were even killed with their own weapons.
Tactical Body Armor Does Help
New York City has seen 87 police lives saved by body armor for law enforcement since it was introduced there in 1978. In the last 30 years, ballistic body armor has saved more than 3,000 law enforcement lives.
Tactical Body Armor Isn’t Worn Everywhere
With tactical body armor as useful as it is, it’s not surprising that the Bureau of Justice Statistics found in 2013 that 71% of all local police departments require officers to wear them constantly. The real surprise is the percentage that do not have this requirement. The chance that an officer will die once he or she has been shot is 3.4 times greater if the officer was not wearing bulletproof body armor.
Tactical Body Armor Has to be the Right Kind
It’s not enough that officers have police duty gear. Their tactical body armor needs to be of the right quality to keep them safe. When officers wear body armor and are shot in the torso, 20% of those who do not survive died because their body armor wasn’t good enough. It did not have the capability to stop the caliber of ammunition they were hit with. It’s also important that all tactical body armor be comfortable to wear and easy for an officer to move in.
Tactical Body Armor Protects More Than the Individual Officer
When an officer’s life is saved by the right body armor, everyone wins. It’s not just the officer who is saved. Spouses and children are saved, too: saved from the grief and horror of losing a loved one in the line of duty. Police departments and the public come out winners as well because a valuable and experienced officer is still around to serve.
It is essential that we equip our police officers with the right gear to keep them safe and effective. Tactical body armor and other police duty gear are one way of preserving our officers so they can keep us safe.