Government data reveals that there are a substantial number of assaults on police officers. Over the past decade, this amounted to almost 60,000 a year. Over 33% of the law enforcement officers that died over this time period were due to sustaining a gunshot wound. After motor vehicle crashes, which are the primary cause of officers losing their lives in the line of duty, shootings are the second leading cause of their deaths.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Data for 2016
According to Federal Bureau of Investigation data, 66 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty during this year alone. While four of these fatalities occurred due to other means, 62 were due to the officers being assaulted with firearms. It’s important to note that all of these deaths could have been preventable.
Police Duty Gear Saves Lives
In order to enhance law enforcement safety, it’s vital that officers wear the best possible tactical body armor and gear. Over the past three decades, armor vests alone have saved over 3,000 officers’ lives. Back in 1978, for example, 87 New York City police officers were saved by wearing body armor. In 2013, a Bureau of Justice Statistics survey showed that 71% of local police departments mandated that their officers always wear armor vests.
It’s important to note that when officers wear armor vests, they are less likely to die after sustaining a gunshot wound to the torso. Statistics show that their chance of surviving this type of wound is 3.4 times higher than for those officers that don’t wear vests. There are circumstances, however, where wearing a vest may not be sufficient protection against high-powered gunshot wounds to the torso. In 20% of the instances where officers sustained fatal torso wounds, it was due to being shot with ammunition that the body armor wasn’t able to stop.
Maintaining Police Safety
Since officers put their lives on the line for the communities that they serve, it’s important to ensure that they have the appropriate type of police duty gear. While armor vests may be sufficient in some instances, others situations may demand that they wear additional protection, such as full-body armor clothing. Given that there are different levels of body armor, learning more about what’s available in police duty gear is essential.