Local News

More Law Enforcement Officers Want Bullet-Proof Vests

Posted November 6, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— No one wants to be in the path of a bullet, but if you're a police officer, that possibility is part of the job. You might think all officers have access to bulletproof vests, but that's just not the case. Many small departments can't afford the protection, but that might soon change.

Corporal Allen Moseley will never forget July 17th. That's the day he and dozens of officers in three counties were hunting for the man who killed Sharpsburg Police Chief Wayne Hathaway. His best friends that day were his firearm, fellow officers and the bulletproof vest under his shirt.

"You get to thinking about it, you know," explains Cpl. Moseley. "This man's already shot one officer. He's desperate. He's at the end of his rope. So, you don't know if he's going to ambush you, or if you're going to come across him."

Moseley was wearing his vest that day, but a few officers did not. A bill making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives would spend $25 million dollars to buy one for every department in America. Local law enforcement officials are cheering the move.

"With all the officers having bulletproof vests," explains Edgecombe County Sheriff, James Knight, "I think that is a good way to show that we're out here and that we're behind you, and the things that you need, we're going to provide for you."

The justice department says that since bulletproof vests were invented, they've saved the lives of two-thousand officers. Local leaders, especially in smaller departments, say they want equal access to that protection because any officer could find danger around most any corner.

Bulletproof vests are made out of Kevlar. It's a tough plastic polymer that pound for pound is stronger than steel.

The vests layer the Kevlar fabric in crisscrossing directions so that the bullet's energy is transfered away from the impact point. Good vests cost between $400 and $800 dollars, and can stop point-blank shots from 357 magnums, 10 millimeters, and even a 12 gauge buckshot.