Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief

Source: Nathan James, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R43544, January 28, 2016

Since FY1999, Congress has provided funding to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to help them purchase armor vests for their officers through the Matching Grant Program for Law Enforcement Armor Vests (also referred to as the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Initiative, hereinafter “the BPV program”).

This report provides an overview of the BPV program. It also provides a discussion of
• data on law enforcement agencies that require their officers to wear armor vests while on duty,
• research on why officers may choose to wear armor vests,
• research on the life cycle for armor vests,
• data on the use of body armor by law enforcement officers who were killed with a firearm, and
• research on the effectiveness of armor vests.

The report concludes with a survey of congressional issues policy makers might consider should they take up legislation to reauthorize the BPV program.