For Immediate Release
SHURTLEFF ISSUES ADVISORY ABOUT BULLETPROOF VESTS
OFFICERS & REPORTERS INVITED TO SHOOT AT OLD VEST
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is issuing an advisory today alerting law enforcement officers that safer bulletproof vests will soon be available. The standards for bulletproof vests have improved dramatically thanks to the efforts of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Utah Department of Corrections and Utah Department of Purchasing. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) made significant changes in the standards after receiving recommendations from the Utah government agencies.
"These vests can mean the difference between life and death. We want law enforcement officers to have the best information so they can make the best decisions to protect their safety," says Shurtleff.
The Attorney General is inviting law enforcement officers and reporters to join him at the new Police Academy shooting range to shoot at an outdated vest. "Any vest is better than no vest but we hope this demonstration will show that the older vests may make officers vulnerable," says Shurtleff.
The new vests are expected to come out early next year and will meet the NIJ 06 standards. The Utah Attorney General’s Office is recommending the following advice to state and other public procurement units in Utah regarding vest purchases in the interim:
- If you do not have a vest that meets the current NIJ 05 standard, then by all means obtain a vest now rather than wait for he NIJ 06 certified vests to be available.
- If you have a certified NIJ 05 vest that is in proper condition and want to upgrade the vest, then it would be advisable to wait several more months and obtain the NIJ 06 certified vest as that vest will be certified by this higher standard.
The NIJ first created a standard for body armor in 1972 and the program has contributed to saving the lives of more than 3,000 officers. Those standards were changed in 1978, 1985, 1987 and 2003, the year of the first confirmed case of an NIJ-compliant body armor failing to stop a bullet it was designed to defeat. The NIJ determined that the material Zylon in the vest deteriorated from exposure to heat, moisture and flexing.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office has been participating in a series of meetings and workshops that have led to the following changes in the way vests are tested, including:
- More stringent testing involving moisture, heat and wear
- More sample quantities and multiple armor sizes
- Standardized bullets and additional shot patterns during tests
"I want to personally thank Sgt. Nick Roberts of Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Frank Volk of Purchasing, Major Lee Lindsay Jr. from Corrections , Assistant Attorney General Alan Bachman and Lt. Craig Park from our office for going beyond the call of duty to make sure every officer is safe," adds Shurtleff.
The NIJ will continue to assess threats, technology advances and additional changes for testing. If you have any questions about a vest purchase, please contact the State Purchasing Agent Frank Volk at (801) 538-3707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Gallery of Press Event here
Bulletproof: September 17, 2008
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