Thursday, September 16, 2010

Police Body Armor

A RAND News Release indicates that it is cost-effective to provide all police with body armor, and we couldn’t agree more with the concept of doing everything we can to protect those who risk their lives daily for us; it is tough out there.

An excerpt.

“Providing body armor to all law enforcement officers in the United States would provide enough benefit to justify the cost, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

“Analyzing police officer shootings over a four-year period, the study found that wearing body armor more than tripled the likelihood that an officer would survive a shooting to the torso and estimated that providing such equipment to all officers nationally would save at least eight lives annually. While most police departments already use body armor, many still do not.

“Considering the value of the life of an officer killed by gunfire, the study concludes that the benefits of providing body armor to all officers would be twice as large as the cost. The findings were published online by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

“While it is well-known that body armor saves lives, we've never known just how effective it is,” said Tom LaTourrette, the study's author and a senior scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “The additional cost of providing body armor to all law enforcement officers in the United States is more than justified compared to the savings that would be created by fewer serious injuries and officer deaths.”

“Body armor began to be used by law enforcement agencies in the United States during the middle of the 1970s and today about 75 percent of officers nationwide work in departments that require the equipment to be worn while officers are on duty or in certain high-risk situations.

“No high-quality studies have been done previously to examine the effectiveness of body armor among police officers.

“LaTourrette examined 561 line-of-duty shootings involving police officers nationally between 2004 and 2007. Among the 262 torso shootings studied, officers who were not wearing body armor had a 68 percent chance of dying as compared to a 20 percent among those who did wear armor.

“The study estimates that it costs $112 per year to provide an officer with body armor. So outfitting the 236,000 police officers who do not have body armor would cost about $26 million annually, while the study estimates the economic value of the lives saved each year at $51 million.”