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Purpose Styled
Body Armor
SWAT Teams

Covert vests are available with all the
levels of protection offered in overt
armor, including NIJ Level III and IV
armor. These are the highest levels of
protection available, and are not available
in ‘soft armor’, which only uses Kevlar or
similar materials. These high levels can
only be achieved by using rigid plates of
Ceramics and/or Polyethylene, which are
usually worn in conjunction with ‘soft
armor’. For SWAT teams, these are
essential. A tactical vest with rigid plates
is vital equipment for SWAT teams, as
they are required to work in the most
extreme situations. The rigid plates
provide protection against the strongest
calibers of firearm, including armor-
piercing ammunition, and can even
protect against explosives and
fragmentation. However, tactical armor
has the added benefit of protection for
the throat, neck, groin, and upper arm,
meaning any Officer wearing this vest will
be fully protected.
What Armor Should Each
Branch of Law Enforcement be
Wearing?
By Joshua Nash for SafeGuard Armor
Most Officers will understand the
importance of a bullet proof vest. In any
altercation a vest can mean the difference
between life and death, as it absorbs the
impact of attacks. Even without a
weapon, an attacker can be fended off by
an Officer wearing a vest. Similarly, many
Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) find
themselves surviving otherwise fatal
traffic accidents thanks to a bullet proof
vest. However, not many realize that
there are a number of different options
available, and that each branch or
department of Law Enforcement can
benefit from each. Understanding the
specifics of the vests you should be
wearing allows you to go into any
situation fully confident in your own
protection.
Uniformed Officers

Uniformed Officers will benefit from a wide
range of bullet proof vests, as they are
required to deal with a wide range of
threats. However, there will be different
situations for Uniformed Officers that will
require specific protection. For example,
most Uniformed LEOs will want to wear
an overt vest, particularly one that is
equipped with pouches and clips to hold
their equipment. Similarly, by wearing a
vest that has their logos and insignia on
they can display their authority to the
public. Another important feature for this
overt vest is a front zip or quick release
system, as this allows the Officer to
quickly equip a vest and react to specific
situations. However, these vests should
also have stab and spike protection.
While ballistic protection is a necessity for
all LEOs, Uniformed Police should also
have stab and spike protection. This is
achieved using additional materials like
chain mail or plastic laminate, and is
needed to help them deal with the threat
of weapons like knives and
needles.
Traffic Officers

Those working in Traffic, or simply those
working around vehicles, may require an
overt vest made of different materials.
The need to stay protected will
necessitate a bullet proof vest, which as
mentioned above, can protect against
traffic collisions. However, it will also need
to be overt to display the Officer’s
authority. However, in a traffic
environment this has to be displayed as
clearly as possible, and so a high-visibility
vest will be required. These vests are
made from durable, weatherproof, and
high-visibility materials which allow an
Officer to be seen clearly and to deal with
the elements. This can be augmented
with logos and insignia also, making their
authority clear to all.
Undercover Officers

Just like Uniformed Officers, LEOs
working undercover will require protection
against ballistics, stab, and spiked
weapons in order to perform in the face
of likely threats. However, this protection
of course cannot be worn in the same
overt style, and so instead these Officers
will require covert armor. Covert body
armor is available in the same levels of
protection as overt armor, as the
materials required are lightweight, thin
and flexible. Covert vests often have the
added benefit of sitting closer to the
body, thereby allowing a greater freedom
of movement without sacrificing
protection. Of course, the main
advantage is the discretion that these
thin vests provide, and to Undercover
Officers or perhaps LEOs working in
sensitive environments, this is invaluable.
Moreover, some covert vests are
designed using breathable materials that
actually improve the
temperature-regulation of the wearer.
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