Poll Call: An honest look at your police body armor

Nearly 20% of 4,600 police respondents either didn't know their agency's body armor policy or the agency lacks one

By Police1 Staff

With so many officer-safety threats out of our control, it's incredible how many dangers we let go unsupervised that we do have the power to control - like wearing seatbelts and body armor and taking control of our physical and mental health. 

LODDs dropped from 72 in 2011 to 48 in 2012, thanks in part to the widening use of body armor. 

Ballistic vests are a product we simply can't put a value on, yet so many officers are hesitant to wear them. They're hot, restraining, they don't breathe, and they don't allow you to move as tactically and methodically as you'd like. If you're not getting shot at daily (or ever) it's easy to reason your way out of them (like so many people — officers and civilians alike — do with seatbelts). 

So we were curious to find out just how many of you wear your vests, how often, and when they’re replaced. Check out the results from a survey of more than 4,600 P1 readers:

1. How often would you say you wear ballistic armor on-duty?

We were happy to see that more than 85% of survey respondents said they wear their ballistic vests 100% of time. (Although we hope to convince the other 662 surveyers who answered otherwise). 

2. Does your agency have a policy about wearing body armor and if so what is it?

The large majority of agencies require that officers wear their vests while on-duty, according to the results, but nearly 20% of those surveyed either didn't know their agency's policy or the agency lacks one. 

3. How often do you (or does your agency) replace ballistic vests?

Each body armor brand is different, but most suggest being replaced every 3-5 years or as soon as the material has been compromised. If you're in the minority of officers who has not replaced your vest in recent years, check with the manufacturer of your vest to find out when it should be replaced and communicate with the decision-makers of your department about getting them replaced. 

For more on body armor options and the latest product trends, check out P1 expert Lindsey Bertomen's recent body armor roundup

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