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Officer Safety Corner: Body Armor Designed to Safeguard Officers' Lives

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 82 Dated: April 2015 Pages: 18-19
Date Published
June 2015
2 pages
After reviewing the most recent update of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Standard-0101.06, which sets the minimum acceptable features and testing for police body armor, this article discusses standards for the comfortable and effective wearing of body armor, followed by guidelines for what law enforcement agencies should consider when deciding what body armor to buy.
NIJ Standard-0101.06, which supersedes all prior standard versions for police body armor, improves the level of protection provided by body armor, ensures greater confidence in body armor's continuing performance while in service, and provides that the requirements contained in the standard are relevant to the needs of officers in the field. A discussion of the wearability of body armor notes that body armor can provide an officer with only a certain level of protection before it begins to impair an officer's mobility and physical performance. The selection process should attempt to achieve a balance that will maximize the armor's ballistic protection and coverage while minimizing its impact on the performance of an officer's duties. NIJ Guide-0101.06 addresses the selection and purchasing of body armor. The body shape of the wearer, regardless of gender, must be considered when selecting body armor. The guide notes that using a competitive process that involves several bids from different suppliers tends to produce the best value. The NIJ Compliant Product List identifies armor that agencies can be confident will provide the appropriate level of protection, allowing for comparisons based on costs and other less critical considerations.

Date Published: June 1, 2015