Three officers who engaged armed suspects appeared at Safariland's booth at the SHOT Show today to tell the harrowing stories of experiences that resulted in their survival because they wore the company's body armor.
In remarks prior to introducing the officers, Ed Hinchey, Safariland's armor technical specialist and a retired officer, presented each officer with a ceremonial coin and thanked them for their service. The company launched the Safariland Saves Club of officers who survived while wearing Safariland body armor.
Of the officers who have been saved by body armor—estimated at about 3,000 nationwide—about two of every three were wearing the company's armor, Hinchey said.
First up was Cedar City (Utah) Police Officer Jason Thomas. On Jan. 5, 2007, the K-9 officer attempted to assist a driver who appeared to be stuck in the snow off a road.
As Thomas approached the immobilized truck, the man pulled out a 12-gauge shotgun and opened fire on the officer. Thomas sustained two injuries to his side and left shoulder and was wearing a Second Chance Summit vest.
Missouri State Trooper Cody Dunfee spoke next. Dunfee and other tactical officers were attempting to apprehend a suspect who was wanted in connection with attempted murder cases in two states.
Dunfee was hit with fire from the suspect's Marlin .30-.30 rifle, while attempting to execute a warrant. The officer exchanged gunfire with the suspect in a second-floor hallway of a home. The officer hit the man in the right shoulder with a round, which prevented him from reloading the rifle with several of the approximately 100 rounds later found in his "bug out" pants. Dunfee wore a PROTECH Tactical Vest with an IMPAC Plate.
The third officer was Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Det. Jared Reston, who was alerted of a shoplifting incident at a mall while he worked an off-duty private security job.
While running from Reston, the suspect turned and fired six shots, hitting Reston in the face, chest, and leg. Reston returned fire on the suspect, who died at the scene. Reston was wearing an ABA HP vest, which saved his life.
"That pissed me off that I was going to be killed by a shoplifter," Reston said.