Today, the Safariland Group formally recognized three law enforcement officers who were saved in the line of fire by Safariland body armor: Officer Dorian DeSantis of the Washington D.C. Metro Police Department, Officer Garret Osilka of the Loveland (Colo.) Police Department, and Officer John Calhoun of the Houston (Texas) Police Department.
The Safariland Group Saves Club is a group of individuals who, during the line of duty, experienced a life-threatening critical incident where their Safariland Group armor or duty gear contributed to saving their life.
SAVE # 1888: Officer Dorian DeSantis of the Washington D.C. Metro Police Department
On September 16, 2013 Officer Dorian DeSantis and a host of law enforcement agencies responded to an active shooter incident in the Washington D.C. Navy Yard. As he and another officer were clearing the third floor, they encountered the shooter and a gunfight ensued. Officer DeSantis was shot center chest by the assailant but was able to return fire, fatally wounding the assailant and ending the threat. The protection afforded by Officer DeSantis’ ProTech Tactical level III Hard Armor Rifle Plate was such that he did not even seek treatment at a hospital.
“An active shooter is a different animal,” DeSantis told POLICE Magazine. “You never know what’s going to happen. But I was surrounded by a bunch of good guys and I had the right training and equipment. The Safariland vest I was wearing did even more than I expected. Not only did it absorb the impact, but I was able to continue the search.”
SAVE #1885: Officer Garret Osilka of the Loveland (Colo.) Police Department
On March 2, 2014, Officer Garret Osilka conducted a traffic stop in Loveland, Colo. As he approached the vehicle, the driver shot him in the center of his chest from approximately two feet away with a 12-gauge shotgun. Officer Osilka then returned fire but the suspect fled the scene. Immediately after, Officer Osilka was rushed to the hospital and medical personnel discovered that his Second Chance Summit SM01 level IIIA and Impac HT plate had stopped the shotgun blast.
“Not only did the vest save my life, but if it hadn’t absorbed the impact as well as it had and the suspect had seen me fall down, he could’ve come back and executed me instead of running away,” Osilka said during the presentation. “So I like to think the vest saved me twice.”
SAVE #1899: Officer John Calhoun of the Houston (Texas) Police Department
On August 13, 2014, Officer J.D. Calhoun of the Houston Police Department was dispatched to a call regarding a suspicious person with a weapon. Upon arrival, Officer Calhoun and his partner located the suspect who then fled on foot. As Officer Calhoun caught up and tackled the suspect, the suspect placed a .380 caliber weapon against the officer’s left side and shot him. Officer Calhoun’s ABA HP02 Level II armor stopped the round and he was able to stay in the fight, fatally wounding the assailant. After the incident, Officer Calhoun was treated and released from the hospital.
At Calhoun’s agency, officers are allowed to take off their ballistic vests if the temperature reaches 100 degrees. But he always insists on keeping his on, including the hot August day that his vest saved his life, he said during the presentation.
“We need all the help we can get,” Calhoun told POLICE Magazine. “Why not wear this equipment that allows you to be at your best? Now I have chiefs come up to me and tell me they now always wear their vests because they heard about my incident.”
About the Safariland SAVES Program
The Safariland Group Saves Club is a group of individuals who, during the line of duty, experienced a life-threatening critical incident where their Safariland Group armor or duty gear contributed to saving their life. Each of the Saves members become advocates for the law enforcement community, expressing the importance of wearing body armor, and providing other safety tips. From the manufacturing floor to the company's president, The Safariland Group embraces these Saves and honors the dedication and commitment they exhibit every day while doing their job to protect others.