Under nearly every police uniform in the United States, there is a layer of protective body armor. For such dangerous jobs dealing with criminals and their activity, police men and women require body armor in order to protect them from serious injury. During the last decade there were more than 60,000 reports of assault on police officers per year. Several lives may have been saved because of the protection that tactical gear provides. In New York, 87 police officers have had their lives saved by bulletproof body armor, tracing back to 1978. Depending on type, specialty, and brand, body armor can be made out of several different durable materials. The most common material is kevlar, which is an extremely strong fiber material mainly composed of plastic and woven together at high temperatures, resulting in a stiff plate. Kevlar is said to be more durable than woven steel.
1. Protection against bullets
Criminals with guns are extremely likely to use them if they don’t want to be caught. Weapons are used on police officers frequently. In these life threatening situations, police need proper protection when on pursuit for an armed criminal. Over the past three decades, 3,000 law enforcement lives have been saved by body armor. By covering the front and the back of the torso area on a body, body armor plates can add an extreme level of protection. When a bullet enters a kevlar vest, the hard woven material slows the speed of a bullet to a stop by absorbing it’s kinetic energy, preventing it from splitting and traveling through the material. For officers who do not wear body armor clothing, the chance of being fatally wounded by a gunshot is 3.4 times higher. It’s also important to wear a specific level of protection, as there are many grades of body armor. Greater levels or body armor can stop higher powered bullets and other types of force.
2. Stabbings and other force
Police officers are not only in danger by guns, but by knives and other weapons. Depending on the level of protection within body armor, it may also protect a subject from stab wounds and other blunt force. A body armor vest may also protect from shrapnel from an explosion, or hits from blunt weapons.
3. Heat and car accidents
Kevlar body armor can withstand extreme heat, over 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that damage from friction, fire, and other possible physical violence. Kevlar is often made to be thick and durable, and any padding between a body and another force can be possible protection. This means that during a police chase and possible crash, body armor can create a layer of protection for the torso and minimize possible injuries.