Since the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) was first formed in 1931, 29 officers have died in the line of duty. While many of these were accidental or traffic-related, eight were the result of murder. This is a challenging job at the best of times, requiring officers to confront individuals who may be dangerous, armed, and willing to cause severe injury or death to escape the law. For officers to stay as safe as possible while patrolling Arizona’s highways, they need the best body armor available.
If you’re an experienced member of the Arizona Highway Patrol Association, then you’re highly likely to know the various types of bullet proof vests on the market today, but what if you’re new to the role, and need to know more about finding the right protective clothing to stay protected against multiple threats you may encounter in the line of duty? Read on for more.
Bullet Proof Vests for Effective Protection
You never know exactly how any driver will react when you pull them over, or how badly they may respond to being tested for intoxication – most drivers may respect your authority and cooperate, but some may become aggressive, particularly if they’re wanted for other crimes. In these cases, if the individual is carrying a weapon, you may find yourself attacked. Various kinds of bullet proof vests are available: ballistic, edged blade, and spiked weapon.
A driver may be armed for various reasons, from personal safety to criminal behavior. Whatever the reasons, if you aggravate them – intentionally or not – you could find yourself threatened, or even fired upon. If this happens, provided you have the right vest, the bullet may never even reach your body. Bulletproof vests feature multiple layers of Kevlar, and absorb the energy of a round on impact, dispersing it throughout the material to lessen its force; this may flatten the bullet, but is likely to still result in severe bruising and swelling.
Ballistic armor is manufactured to provide varying levels of protection, from level I right through to IV, with multiple stages between. How do you know which vest stops which ammunition? Level I is designed to stop ammo in the .22 caliber range, while level IIA protects against lower-velocity 9mm and .40 S&W ammo. Level II stops 9mm of the higher-velocity range, and .357 Magnum bullets. Level IIIA is the final stage in the soft armor category, protecting against .44 Magnum and 9mm sub-machine gun ammo.
Level III armor will stop high-velocity rifle fire, of the following types: M80, 223 Remington, 30 Carbine, and 12 gauge. Level IV is able to stop armor-piercing rounds, with tough plates – made of ceramics or steel – incorporated alongside the Kevlar, though these may only provide single-shot protection. These hard armors are likely only needed in the most extreme situations, such as if you know a highly-dangerous, heavily-armed individual or gang is on the road in your area. Generally, lower-level armor may well be enough.
Edged Blade and Spiked Weapon Armor
In some situations, an individual may attack you with a knife or sharpened object if you attempt to question them or request they take a breathalyzer test. While guns are a definite threat, sharp items are just as dangerous – a single strike could puncture a vital organ or sever an artery, causing fatal wounds. While an attacker must get into close proximity before they can use their sharpened weapon, this can happen quickly, especially if they give no obvious indication of violent intent. Stab vests feature multiple layers of Kevlar and a tight weave to cause friction against blades, stopping them in both slashing and stabbing attacks. These are available in multiple levels based on the amount of energy used in the attack, and the size of the blade used.
Spiked weapon protection is also built into many stab vests, with the weave of Kevlar being especially tight – enough to stop a pointed tip passing between the fibers. If an attacker uses a hypodermic needle in an attack – as drug-users may do with no other weapon available – the threat of contamination should be considered; this may even be a threat used to warn you away.
You can never know exactly what dangers you may face on any given shift, but you should have armor available to cover against all threats.
Proper Fit and Comfort: Essential Considerations
To stay as safe as possible, you need to wear the ideal fit for your shape: if you choose armor which is too big or too small, it may leave you in greater danger than you expect. For example, an oversized vest may push up into your throat when you move, or drop down, exposing parts of your chest; on the other hand, if the vest is too small, it may dig into your sides and restrict your movements – a major problem when you need as much freedom to draw your weapon and take cover as possible.
Be sure to measure your chest and height – ideally, get someone to help you, to ensure accuracy – and check these against your supplier’s size chart to find the ideal size; if your department is ordering them for you, on their budget, ask them to make sure they get the right size. When measuring yourself, do so while wearing your uniform.
For more information, go to: http://www.safeguardarmor.com/bullet-proof-vests/