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Departments : First Look

Ballistic Face Shield

Citadel Defense Technologies' transparent Cide Shield provides officers with ballistic protection for vital areas not covered by body armor.

December 31, 2014  |  by - Also by this author

Photo: Citadel Defense Technologies
Photo: Citadel Defense Technologies

Jon Priebe, president of Citadel Defense Technologies Inc., says his company's signature products—the Cide Shields—grew out of a concern he's had from the beginning of his more than 30-year career in law enforcement.

"Every time I walked up on a suspect, or stuck my head in an attic, or in a closet, or under a bed, or around a corner, I hated knowing my face was vulnerable," he says.

Priebe started to think about ways to remedy the problem of how to protect officers' faces while they are engaged in "routine patrol duties." And the result—after long years of development, design, engineering, and manufacturing—is the Citadel Defense Cide Shield.

The Cide Shield is a lightweight (8- to 10-pound) transparent ballistic shield that's designed to protect an officer's face and neck without obscuring or distorting the officer's view. It's made of three layers of ballistic material, with a layer of acrylic sandwiched by two layers of polycarbonate.

The Cide Shield can stop most common handgun rounds—.357 Magnum, .38 Special, 9mm, .40mm S&W, and .45 ACP—and is certified by an independent testing lab to offer NIJ Level II protection.

Another very important aspect of the Cide Shield's capabilities is that it captures the bullets fired into it. Priebe says this prevents ricochets, which offers protection to fellow officers and bystanders, and ensures a clean "chain of evidence" after an attack.

In addition to defeating handgun bullets, the Cide Shield offers protection for officers who are attacked by animals or with chemicals, explosives, or just plain fists and feet. It's also very effective against edged weapons, including axes and edged projectiles. "We couldn't even shoot an arrow through it," Priebe says. "Multiple arrows wouldn't penetrate it."

And the Cide Shield's ability to capture bullets is only half of the story. The shield is also an illumination tool.

Each Cide Shield sports two independently wired, 1,000-lumen high-intensity LED lights. Priebe envisions officers carrying the Cide Shield for both illumination and protection. "Combined, the lights on each Cide Shield produce 2,000 lumens of ultra-bright light, more than the spotlights most patrol cars use," Priebe says. "So if you've ever wanted to detach your car's spotlight and take it with you on a call, now you can." Priebe adds that without light officers have a difficult time reacting appropriately to situations. The Cide Shield has two, independently wired lights so that if one is damaged or malfunctions, the user still has light.

Priebe points out that this year has been a particularly bloody year for law enforcement, with more officers killed by firearm attacks than by vehicles. He believes Cide Shields would have helped officers survive many of these attacks by providing an additional barrier between the attackers and the officers. "If you increase the split-second reaction gap between perception and reaction to a threat, officers would be in a better position to respond appropriately," he says. "Officers can only react to whatever threat is coming at them, which puts them automatically at a disadvantage. If you give an officer two seconds more to respond to a threat, that officer will survive the attack." He believes Cide Shields can give officers those two seconds.

Cide Shields are now available and are in use by a number of agencies.

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Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

JAVIER @ 1/8/2015 5:04 PM


Longarm @ 1/10/2015 6:58 PM

At first I was thinking this was a bit hoakey, but if you think of this as a specialized tool that might be deployed only in certain circumstances, it definitely has some advantages over traditional ballistic shields in terms of size and weight constraints, and I imagine probably in cost as well. Interesting piece of kit.

Mabean @ 1/12/2015 11:09 PM

if you look at the stats of officer related deaths from traffic stops, (dark, etc) being shot in the face, this makes complete sense for officer safety. I wish our department had these shields. great piece of equipment for safety.

Phil Granish @ 9/7/2018 3:36 PM

I used to work with Jon Priebe. I have seen first hand what these shields can do. It is one of the most amazing pieces of equipment I have ever seen. The larger ones are great for dangerous situations such as riots, though granted they are heavier, and the small ones are perfect for patrol duties. I have absolutely no doubt that these shields, if used, have the potential to save a lot of lives

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