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Original Articles

The effect of body armor on saving officers' lives: An analysis using LEOKA data

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Pages 73-80 | Published online: 05 Dec 2016
 

ABSTRACT

Using the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA; 2002–2011) database, we examined the life-saving effectiveness of body armor while adjusting for a range of confounders not assessed in previous studies. Among the 637 officers who were shot by a firearm at the torso, those who wore body armor were 76% less likely to be killed than those who did not wear armor, controlling for an array of individual and incident characteristics. A number of factors influenced officers' armor wearing behavior include age, BMI, rank, geographic region, and type of assignment. Results will inform law enforcement agencies in assessing gaps in their current policy and help focus limited resources to encourage armor wearing. The investigation of other factors that influence police officers' chance of surviving a gun shooting (while controlling for body armor) will also have important implications for policies related to sending backup officers to police shootings, emergency response, and other critical areas.

Acknowledgment

Our thanks to Dorothy E. Kisner, LEOKA Program Technical Information Specialist at FBI, for providing the data set.

Funding

This study was funded by the National Institute of Justice under Grant NIJ-2012-3106. Points of views in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or any other organization.

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