Police Concerned About Bulletproof Vests

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wdlove, Oct 2, 2003.

  1. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    #1
    BOSTON -- A company that makes bulletproof vests has told its police customers, that includes Massachusetts police officers, that it has seen an "unexpected decrease" in the strength of the fiber in two of its vest models, raising questions about wearers' safety.

    We definitely need to have the proper equipment for our police!

    http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/2526504/detail.html
     
  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #2
    A discount, but no replacement for the vests that have been taken off the market -- yet.

    Don't remember what they decided to do about the cost for sending the "upgrade kits" for the vests to bulk up the armor protection, until the departments and officers can afford to replace these vests.
     
  3. Vector macrumors 6502a

    Vector

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2002
    #3
    I just wish the writer wouldn't confuse the words bulletproof and bulletresistant. Having worked for a distributer of bulletresistant the misnomer the writer attributes to the product bothers me. There are only a few major vest makers in the united states and none of them make a bulletproof vest. Each company is striving to make thinner and more comfortable vests so that their customers will wear them (it used to be tha many officers would have vests but few would wear them routinely) without sacrificing protection. The majority of vests are level II which is a standard level that defines what the vest can stop and at what velocity it can stop it. These vests, for the most part, can only stop small rounds and cannot stop rifle fire and some automatic fire without ceramic or steel plates.

    Anyway, this is not that surprising to me as second chance makes fairly cheap vests. The department of course bought the cheapest vests they could get away with since it is the city purchasing agent and not an actual police department employee that normally authorizes what is bought. Cities also replace the vests as infrequently as possible (normally every five years as that is the limit of the warranties or when someone gets shot), meaning that some officers are stuck wearing old vests until the last possible minute. This type of policy leaves many officers open to the unintended problems like the one in the article.
     
  4. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2003
    Location:
    PRK
    #4
    It would be better if officers are just given a clothing allowance. That way, they can opt for the better vests if they want to protect their lives more than the standard low-bid vests that the police agency/city purchasing would get.
     
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #5
    If the problem began surfacing TWO years ago, why wait 2 years to pull the product?
     
  6. Vector macrumors 6502a

    Vector

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2002
    #6
    That is how it works in almost all departments. Officers are bought a certain amount of equipment and clothing when they are first hired (including a bulletresistant vest, several uniforms, shoes, duty belt, duty gear, and in some cases a gun is issued but some have to buy it themselves). After the initial purchase, the officers are given a certain amount of money a year or a season that they can charge to the department. The problem is that they have to buy new uniforms with this money and whatever else the might wear out in a year. Some departments also give the officers the actual money in the form of a check which often does not get spent on uniforms as the officers would rather keep the money and just wear their old uniforms.

    There are very few officers who care enough to spend the extra money to get a better vest. Most officers cannot justify spending their own money on a better vest (although i know of a few that do) or spending part of their allowance on a better vest when they already have one and do not plan on getting shot at. Most officers $300-$500 a season (assuming only two seasons winter and summer) depending on the departments resources and its size. Most officers will buy four or so new uniforms each season as they wear out quick due to frequent washing and wear. Once the officers buy new uniforms and whatever other clothes, shoes, or duty gear they may need they are out of money.

    A good vest can cost a department around $350 with their special pricing (otherwise it would be about $500). This makes it very hard for often lowpaid officers to spend the extra money out of their own pockets.
     
  7. MrMacMan macrumors 604

    MrMacMan

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2001
    Location:
    1 Block away from NYC.
    #7
    My... dad's friend's works at rikers...

    They have to wear 2 vests -- one Bullet Proof and one slash protection...

    He says it is annoying, but its needed protection...

    I hope they really stop bullets!

    :eek:
     
  8. Vector macrumors 6502a

    Vector

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2002
    #8
    Since he is working at a prison, he is likely wearing a more protecive albeit les comfortable vest. Vests used in prisons do not need to be as thin or as flexible as those of street officers so they can be better in many cases. It is sort of odd that he is wearing a slash resistant vest since there are vests that offer both qualities. I am sure that at least on of the vests would stop any bullet that he would encounter in a prison environment. Vests can stop most small arms fire, it is just high powered fire from rifles and certain handguns that can penetrate them. Black Talon bullets for instance can actually tear through the layers of a vest rather than mushrooming as regular tipped bullets do. Black Talons have a hollow point that has a serrated tooth like structure to it enabled it to go through most level two vest that do not have a trauma panel (i believe most entry and NIJ level III vests can stop them).
     
  9. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #9
    really? i would think a hollowpoint would be less likely to go through, since hollowpoints merely increase the surface area of the bullet, and the vests rely on distribution of energy to keep the bullet from going through... so one would think the hollowpoint would do part of the vest's job for it (albeit a tiny one)...

    the serrated edge, tho, can i get that in a .45? ;)

    pnw
     
  10. Vector macrumors 6502a

    Vector

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2002
    #10
    With normal bullets, the point mushrooms out quickly upon impact, but the talons spread out the force so the center doesn't just spread out from the middle immediatly and create a mushroom-like piece of lead. Since the talons have a sort of cup in the middle they don't do this as quickly and can penetrate further. The mushroom effect increases the amount of surface area where the bullet meets the fibers allowing the fabric to catch it easier since the force is spread out.

    After it was realized how the talons could penetrate vests (and after several officers were injured by them) they were outlawed and civilians cannot legally buy them anymore. I saw some shot at a demonstration of a brand new vest a few years ago and they went right through it while everything else (only handguns were shot) was stopped.

    Now that i think about it some officers may have been killed but i am not sure.
     

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