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NIJ Requires Mandated Wear for Body Armor Funds In Dallas

March 03, 2011  | 

The Dallas Police Department may require its entire patrol force to wear body armor to retain federal grant funding, an agency spokesman told POLICE Magazine.

The DPD is considering the mandatory wear policy to continue receiving grants from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which are used to purchase armor issued to officers, said Senior Corporal Kevin Janse. The NIJ provides $100,000 annually to the agency for the purchase of ballistic vests. The vest primarily issued to patrol officers is Point Blank's HI-LITE Proformance; however, others are also issued.

Currently, the Dallas PD requires body armor among its specialized units such as SWAT and the gang unit. Patrol officers who assist those units in high-risk operations must also wear their vests.

The NIJ has informed the agency that, "If we're going to supply funds, we expect the officers to wear the vests," Janse said. "In order for us to continue receiving the funds, they're asking us to make it mandatory."

The Dallas PD has given their officers the option to wear the vests. Veteran officers often cite a "comfort issue" for declining to wear the vests. Cadets are custom-fitted with the vests prior to entering the police academy.

"Some of the more senior officers may express displeasure about wearing them," Janse added. "We expect to have some feedback."

The vests can also offer a layer of protection against edged-weapon attacks and blunt-force injuries caused in police vehicle accidents. Most ballistic vests are designed to prevent bullet penetration.

The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Police Department is also considering a mandatory-wear policy, following the line-of-duty death of Officer David Crawford, who wasn't wearing body armor when he was fatally shot by a 16-year-old.

The Dallas Police Department maintains about 3,200 officers on the force.


Slain Florida Cop Wasn't Wearing Body Armor

Comments (9)

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

Alan G @ 3/3/2011 8:27 PM

The purpose of the bullet proof vest partnership was to provide funds to ensure that officers had vests provided through their agencies by supplementary not mandate policy that may be beyond Managment prerogatives due to collective bargaining agreements or past practice. The bottom line is policy is only as good as enforcement. Who will be doing vest wear audits? Perhaps they should pay a higher percentage to compliant agencies. In my agency vest wear is voluntary by a binding labor contract. I would rather NIJ consider that having a vest to better than not having one at all. And yes, after 33 years I still wear one every day.

Frank Dusseault @ 3/4/2011 4:42 AM

Safety and physical conditionning should be mandatory for all law enforcement officers at the federal, state and local levels. Its not 1960. This country is a cesspool of trouble! Society has loss all respect for the justice system.

Michael Sorg @ 3/4/2011 6:04 AM

It's simple...Wear your vest. This is easy life insurance for officers. I have worn mine every working day for over 22 years and I work in the southwest desert where tempatures reach 110+ in the summer. Wearing a vest isn't for the officer, it is for their Family. NIJ is correct to require mandatory wear policy if they are providing funds.

Fed @ 3/4/2011 7:32 AM

The funding from the NIJ is a privilege for the receiving agency as it is a source of substantial "free" money. The fact that particular officers are supplied with the needed tools to deal with the current law enforcement environment and choose not to utilize them says much of their mentality. And yes, when I was a street cop, I wore mine everyday no matter the "discomfort."

Glenn Kaminsky @ 3/4/2011 9:26 AM

Which is more "uncomfortable"..going to an officer's funeral OR wearing the vest? Vests should not OPTIONAL!

Laura Sisk @ 3/5/2011 7:34 AM

I made a promise to my parents in 1982, when I became an officer to wear my vest every day I worked. While it didn't stop me from being hit by a car, busting up my knee and being retired on disability... I lost other friends and fellow officers when they failed to wear theirs. Choosing not to wear your vest is inviting danger! Wear it for your friends & family!

Roger L. @ 3/5/2011 6:17 PM

It is tragic one would even consider not wearing a vest...the only way I can comprehend this is due an obvious lack of intelligence...Our goal is to keep our names off the wall, not make it easier for a dirtbag to put us there...

Michael @ 3/6/2011 8:07 PM

I always wear my vest no matter how hot it is. Yes, it is uncomfortable at
times but I can not justify not wearing it. I still love my job and I still love going home to my family so the answer should be easy. Wear it!

David M @ 8/6/2012 8:33 AM

I have never worn a vest. Its personal preference, its just miserable. I sweat very easily and stay wet from the time I put it on til it comes off. I have 45 years in and am with my 5th an final department.

These guys have been bugging me lately about not wearing my vest and I just had my doctor give me a note saying that it causes thermophysicalgical responses and skin disorders. Were if you like but leave us the option of not if we choose not to wear one.

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