Mandatory Vest Use by Police Officers

Adopted at the 118th Annual Conference 
Chicago, IL 
October 26, 2011

Mandatory Vest Use by Police Officers
Submitted by: Executive Committee

WHEREAS, the first responsibility of government, as well as government leaders, is to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens and the lives of those of the officers who have dedicated their lives to protecting their communities; and 

WHEREAS, it is their responsibility continually evaluate and develop techniques that will protect officers and provide them with the equipment and training that will protect them when they are confronted by someone who will not hesitate to injure or use deadly physical force against them; and 

WHEREAS, in order to fulfill their duties and responsibilities of protecting their communities, law enforcement officers must first protect themselves; and 

WHEREAS, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), 1,626 law enforcement officers in the United States were killed in the line of duty between 2000 and 2009; and 

WHEREAS, data published by the NLEOMF indicates that there were 565 law enforcement officers killed with a firearm from 2000-2009; and, 

WHEREAS, soft body armor is available to law enforcement personnel to protect against life threatening or potentially disabling injuries; and 

WHEREAS, according to FBI LEOKA data, 37% of law enforcement officers feloniously killed during the time period of 2000 – 2009 were not wearing body armor; and 

WHEREAS, the IACP/DuPont Kevlar Survivors Club has also documented that since 1987, more than 3,000 law enforcement officers have survived life threatening injuries because they were protected by their body armor; and 

WHEREAS, according to a report by Bureau of Justice Assistance, only 60 percent of agencies have mandatory wear policies for body armor; now therefore be it 

RESOLVED, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) calls on all law enforcement executives to immediately develop and implement mandatory body armor wear policies for their departments; and, be it 

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the IACP understands that officers engaged in certain non-patrol activities may not be able to wear body armor during particular aspects of their assignments and that each department will need to determine those circumstances and situations where wearing body armor would be inappropriate.