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PERF Survey Reveals Significant Increase in Body Armor Policies
A new PERF survey, conducted with support from the National Institute of Justice, has found that 92% of a nationally representative sample of police officers are required to wear body armor, either at all times when on duty or at most times when on duty. This is a significant increase over a similar survey conducted by PERF in 2009, when only 59% of police agencies required officers to wear body armor at least some of the time.
Similarly, 78% of officers said their agency has a written policy on body armor, compared to 45% of agencies who had written policies in 2009.
Officers overwhelmingly obey these body armor policies. Nearly all officers said they wear body armor as required, either “all of the time” (88%) or “most of the time” (11%).
When we asked officers why they wear body armor, 90% said that one reason is that they consider it “critical for their safety.” And 49% said they wear armor because “agency policy requires it.”
PERF’s full report, “Body Armor Use, Care, and Performance in Real World Conditions: Findings from a National Survey,” is available here: http://policeforum.org/library/police-equipment/PERFBodyArmorReportFINAL.pdf.
And recommendations for law enforcement agencies can be found in “A Practitioner’s Guide to the 2011 National Body Armor Survey of Law Enforcement Officers,” which is available here: http://policeforum.org/library/police-equipment/PERFBodyArmorpractitionersguideFINAL.pdf.