Bullet-proof vests should be more ‘comfortable,’ DOJ says

Police departments should make sure the body armor given to officers are comfortable enough that officers will actually wear it, the Department of Justice said in comments issued Monday on new federal guidelines for bullet-proof vests.

For daily use, the DOJ recommends law enforcement agencies purchase bullet-proof vests that are comfortable enough that police officers will wear them consistently, even if that means sacrificing certain levels of protection.

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"All agencies should strive to select body armor that their officers will wear and that is consistent with their ballistic protection requirements,” the DOJ wrote.

"The temptation to order armor that provides more protection than realistically needed should be resisted, because doing so may increase the likelihood that the armor will not be worn routinely,” it added.

More than 3,100 police officers' lives have been saved by wearing body armor, according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police. 

The DOJ noted it is in the process of developing new guidelines for stab-resistant body armor, which would be better suited for correction officers in prisons than bullet-proof vests.

"Body armor is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment used by officers,” the DOJ’s National Institute of Justice wrote.

The body armor guidelines teach police how to properly wear bullet-proof vests and keep them in good condition.

The guidelines also help law enforcement agencies assess the type of body armor needed based on the situations police officers are involved in and the threats they are mostly likely to face.

“No body armor will stop every threat,” the DOJ warned.

“The threats that the officer is most likely to face are the most important consideration in selecting body armor,” it added.