Each day, scores of police officers are tasked with protecting the citizens of the United States and upholding the country’s laws. According to 2008 data, state and local law enforcement agencies employed more than 1.1 people full-time, including more than 750,000 sworn personnel.

But such an important job is not without risks and just as they are tasked with upholding the law every day, officers put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis. According to police data collected over the last decade, there have been nearly 60,000 assaults on police officers.

Not only have there been assaults, but many officers have made the ultimate sacrifice. FBI data shows that 66 law enforcement officers were criminally killed in the line of duty in 2016. Of those 66, 62 were assaulted with firearms. Additionally, FBI records indicate that law enforcement officers were feloniously killed with their own weapon in the last 10 years.

To combat the threats against them, body armor has been a big help to police officers. Armor vests have saved the lives of more than 3,000 law enforcement officers over the past three decades. Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that 71 percent of local police departments in 2013 required officers to wear armor vests at all times.

One way Police test the hardness of objects is by the brinell hardness test. This test determines the indentation hardness of a surface by using a small ball to push against a surface at a predetermined level of force and depth. But using the brinell hardness test, police may be able to determine the force and hardness of different types of ammunition and may also be able to determine how effective certain kinds of body armor are. With the brinell hardness test, it may also be possible for police officers to recreate shootings based on the type of ammunition that was used.

When working in the field, police safety is Paramount and having the right body armor and right body armor clothing can go a long way towards saving a police officer’s life.

When it comes to body armor, the National Institute of Justice has a three-level rating system. The body armor levels include:

  • II-A: This provides protection for most threats that police officers encounter. It is thin and is consider comfortable in terms of body armor clothing.
  • II: This body armor provides a good balance for protection against blunt force trauma and concealability.
  • III-A: This has the highest blunt force trauma protection rating in soft body armor and is a good option for unusual or high-risk situations. It minimizes blunt trauma injury to allow officers to return fire more effectively.

If a police department is in the market for new body armor this guide can help you get started.

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