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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77891 Find in a Library
Title: Case for Bulletproof Vests
Author(s): R L Olson
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 12
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A legislative budget analyst in New York urges approval of State legislation to provide bulletproof vests to police officers.
Abstract: A revised bill would appropriate funds to supply soft-body armor for every police officer in the State assigned to patrol duty. A study regarding the life-saving potential of the vests found that of the 93 law enforcement officers killed in the United States in 1978, soft-body armor would probably have saved the lives of 37 (39.8 percent) of these officers since their fatal wounds were received in the front and rear upper torsos. Moreover, death benefits and other awards to the widows and beneficiaries of these officers would have been better spent on body armor. In addition to detailing the efficacy of the vests in stopping bullets from varying handguns, rifles, and shotguns, their usefulness in protecting police officers from a variety of instruments such as bayonets, pitchforks, or explosives and from car crashes, police motorcycle crashes, and electrical accidents is outlined. The soft-body armor protection covers potential injuries caused by hands, fists, or feet, and blunt instruments. A bulk purchase of soft-body armor at about $100 per vest would enable outfitting the entire New York State Police Force for about $300,000 -- far less than the $685,000 paid out in widows' benefits. The cost of extending this coverage to every law enforcement officer in the State could run as high as $4.5 million. However, the return on this investment in terms of direct lives saved, minimized assaults and injuries, and an increase in morale and incentive will more than outweigh its cost. Tabular data, related correspondence, and a press release are provided.
Index Term(s): Body armor/Personal protective equipment; Cost/Benefit Analysis; Legislation; New York; Police deaths; Police equipment; Police safety
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