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  • Feds want local police to require body armor

    Is it not the unions who generally resist policies where vest is mandatory? That was my understanding. Your PD require it? As much as I believe LEO should wear their vest, should feds mandate it?

    April 09, 2011

    Feds want local police to require body armor
    The Justice Dept. has threatened to withhold aid

    By Kevin Johnson
    USA TODAY

    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is threatening to withhold millions of dollars in federal aid to local police departments unless they adopt policies that require uniformed officers to wear body armor.

    The requirement, which takes effect this month as local agencies apply for as much as $37 million in federal aid to purchase bullet-resistant vests, comes in the wake of a recent surge in fatal shootings of police officers.

    Jim Burch, acting director of the department's Bureau of Justice Assistance, said the new policy is in response to the spike in violence -- a 44% jump in fatal police shootings over the same time last year -- and research showing that 41% of police agencies do not require their officers to wear body armor.

    "What struck us is the number of agencies that don't have a mandatory policy ... a potential huge vulnerability," Burch said. "If we're investing federal dollars, we should require agencies to have policies."

    Last year, the Justice Department distributed $37 million to reimburse 4,127 agencies large and small, from Anchorage and Boston to Chicago, Los Angeles and New Orleans, for the purchase of 193,259 vests.

    Justice officials began contemplating changes to the vest program after a 2009 review by the Police Executive Research Forum, a law enforcement think tank, found that 41% of departments do not require officers to wear body armor at least some of the time. The federal program would mandate that officers wear the vests while in uniform.

    Among the other findings in forum report, which surveyed 782 agencies: fewer than half of the agencies that required armor had written policies addressing the issue. The overwhelming majority of the agencies -- 90% -- do not regularly inspect the equipment to ensure that it fits or has been properly maintained.

    "There is no good reason ... for not requiring it," said Chuck Wexler, the forum's executive director. "This is an appropriate role for the federal government."

    The Justice action has prompted a number of police officials to re-evaluate their own policies or risk losing access to federal funding at a time when local government budgets are being slashed and services, including law enforcement, are being cut back.

    Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel said he doesn't believe the federal government should dictate how local police operate, including whether officers should be required to wear vests.

    Under his department's policy, all officers must have vests. Braziel said he will now require that officers wear vests, if only to ensure federal money keeps flowing. Last year, Sacramento received $45,412 for 360 vests.

    "Decisions like these are better left to individual departments," Braziel said. "But right now we're scraping for every dime we can get. We'll be making a quick change" in policy.

    Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said his department is drafting a policy to meet the new federal rules. "It wasn't about the money," Flynn said, adding that Justice's action motivated him to focus more attention on officer safety, and he plans to beef up security at police stations.

    Seven Milwaukee officers have been wounded in the line of duty in the past two years. All but one was wearing body armor.

    Flynn said officers now need to know that armor should be regarded as necessary equipment. "It's a second skin," he said. "It's part of the job. It's what you do."

    Alarmed by the spike in officer fatalities, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last month convened a meeting of law enforcement officials. He said vests purchased through the federal program helped save the lives of six officers this year. "Our law enforcement officers put themselves in harm's way every day to ensure the safety and security of the American people in cities and communities across the country, and we need to do everything we can to protect them."
    - Will

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  • #2
    sorry, in a rush..didnt read the article...dont have to with the title...BUT uhhh, yeah...especially since the fed will pay out to an officers family if involved in a LODD, (public safety officers benefits program)....the last training I went to a month ago advised over 300K, i think
    Whats shocking to me is that there even needs to be a discussion about it...especially with all the shootings and horrible acts of violence against LEOs in todays society. I saw a FTO today in a MAJOR metropolitan city known for crap doing paperwork in detention after bringing in a prisoner who did not have a vest on....
    just silly and quite truthfully in todays day and age..stupid
    "I don't go on "I'maworthlesscumdumpster.com" and post negative **** about cum dumpsters."
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    • #3
      As much as I endorse always wearing your body armor, they need to butt out. If they are able to officially "require" us to do something, even something like wearing a vest, they will have their fingers in our business, and they will start telling us what to do and how to do our jobs. This is of course, what THEY want.
      I yell "PIKACHU" before I tase someone.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by WillBrink View Post
        Is it not the unions who generally resist policies where vest is mandatory? That was my understanding. Your PD require it? As much as I believe LEO should wear their vest, should feds mandate it?
        Actually ALOT of unions encourage officers to WEAR the body armor issued! what some unions are against is the arbitrary enforcement of body armor policies that lead to discipline. even my dept has optional wear issues( basically, all uniformed personnel on patrol or in public "shall wear", specialized and adminstrative units are optional)


        One concern I have is about what types of vests, levels, and makers that "will be required"- we all know that all body armor producers are "top shelf", just like a honda isn't a mercedes. ( was curious about some makers being NIJ "interim" compliant vs. those that are NIJ compliant, and those who are foreign producers who are "NIJ standard comparable")

        what I find ironic about this is the numbers of BICE/CBP/VA and FPS officers I see here in the L.A. area "out on patrol" in uniform , who DON'T wear a vest......
        Last edited by DOAcop38; 04-10-2011, 06:10 PM.
        "we're americans ! We don't quit because we're wrong, we just keep doing it wrong UNTIL it turns out Right"...

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        • #5
          Keep in mind that the numbers only reflect the percentage of departments that don't have a "policy" on vests. The percentage of officers that actually wear a vest should truly be looked at.

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          • #6
            It appears it's the same logic as seat belt laws. I don't like wearing a seat belt, but the fact is that it can save your life.

            What's so bad about this? Perhaps the feds can require departments to furnish it...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mikeymedic View Post
              Keep in mind that the numbers only reflect the percentage of departments that don't have a "policy" on vests. The percentage of officers that actually wear a vest should truly be looked at.
              I don't know anyone in patrol anymore that doesn't wear their vest. I rarely see non-patrol officers wearing them. I personally have no problem with the federal government saying make it mandatory or we will stop giving you money towards purchasing them. Dallas has changed their policy to mandatory wear to keep getting federal money. Agencies have the option to allow officers to decide as long as they stop getting money for it.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jannino View Post
                Perhaps the feds can require departments to furnish it...
                The Feds will pay half for a vest.....All you have to do is sign-up for the program.....

                Should be no reason at all why you aren't wearing a vest.....

                I know someone personally that wasn't wearing a vest and got shot......he's in a wheelchair now......and suspect still at large.....

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                • #9
                  I know someone personally that wasn't wearing a vest and got shot......he's in a wheelchair now......and suspect still at large.....
                  That's got to eat at you if your that person. That's sad to read BC
                  MDRDEP:

                  There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bearcat357 View Post
                    The Feds will pay half for a vest.....All you have to do is sign-up for the program.....

                    Should be no reason at all why you aren't wearing a vest.....

                    I know someone personally that wasn't wearing a vest and got shot......he's in a wheelchair now......and suspect still at large.....
                    I know one personally who WAS wearing one------------------------------------30 yrs ago.

                    He retired.
                    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bearcat357 View Post
                      The Feds will pay half for a vest.....All you have to do is sign-up for the program.....

                      Should be no reason at all why you aren't wearing a vest.....

                      I know someone personally that wasn't wearing a vest and got shot......he's in a wheelchair now......and suspect still at large.....
                      I am no fan of government interference on personal choices. But this is a for a job that is tax payer funded so I can give them a little lee way. Also, it was mentioned the feds pay out death benefits so it could be argued that it not only saves lives but saves money.. I know that sounds horrible, but everything seems to be about cost lately.

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                      • #12
                        If you dont wear one, will the USDOJ pay your family in the unfortunate event of a LODD??? What if they dont pay because you didnt wear a vest...an implement designed to stop some types of bullets so they will hopefully NOT go into you, killing you.

                        People have some valid points here...like personal safety issues, (seatbelts, etc), federal governement intrusion into "local" departments, etc .....however if YOU get shot, then other cops will come to try to help you and possibly put THEIR lives in jeopardy to come get you. Arent you tired of reading about the LODD's??? I know I am....a-hole society is getting more and more gun happy and dangerous..ESPECIALLY FOR US.

                        BUT SERIOUSLY...tell me a GOOD reason why an officer would not want to wear a vest...please
                        "I don't go on "I'maworthlesscumdumpster.com" and post negative **** about cum dumpsters."
                        The Tick

                        "Are you referring to the secret headquarters of a fictional crime fighter or penal complex slang for a-$$hole, anus or rectum?"
                        sanitizer

                        "and we all know you are a poser and a p*ssy.... "
                        Bearcat357 to Dinner Portion/buck8/long relief

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bearcat357 View Post
                          Should be no reason at all why you aren't wearing a vest.....
                          Originally posted by crass cop View Post
                          just silly and quite truthfully in todays day and age..stupid
                          Bingo.

                          I'd like to add that they shouldn't have to force you, yet all of you should be wearing regardless. Especially in today's world.
                          sigpic

                          Originally posted by mitojo
                          I was once thanked by two citizens in one day. Weird.

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                          • #14
                            IMO, should departments make vests mandatory? Yes.

                            Should the federal government have a say over it? No.

                            I left the street for a small college PD where you do maybe two reports a week but still always wear a vest. The dept just ordered vests for everyone, but until they get here, I will wear my too big, expired one. Because.
                            Originally posted by Ceridwen
                            Just one would be stingy of me, I'd have to get two. For the children.

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                            • #15
                              as some have already stated, you should be wearing a vest regardless, the feds should stay out of it. if the feds start mandating vest wearing are the LODD payouts going to end up like a warranty?

                              example: you dont wear a vest and get shot in the heart and die, they wont pay.
                              you DO wear a vest and take a head shot. the vest didnt 'fail' so the feds wont pay.

                              i can see it now, especially with the current knobs running the govt., that because they are mandating vest wear, if the vest wasnt in your death equation your family aint gettin a dime.
                              Originally posted by crass cop
                              Just do it in front of a camera and try not to get a boner and you shoudl be fine.

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