Once when you used the word armor you either thought of knights of old with their lances or perhaps tanks and other heavy fighting vehicles used in war. Today especially in law enforcement the word armor brings up a very different image.
On February 28, 1997, two men robbed a bank in California. They were armed with illegally modified automatic weapons and homemade body armor. The two criminals engaged police in a firefight that endured for 45 minutes. When the firing ceased and the smoke finally cleared 12 police officers and 8 civilians had been wounded. One criminal committed suicide. His partner was eventually brought down by being shot in the legs 20 times and eventually bled to death. The two main reasons this battle lasted 45 minutes was police did not have the same level of protection enjoyed by the two maniacs, nor did they have the weaponry necessary to quickly stop the threat.
What is truly disheartening is that although the “Battle for North Hollywood” was won, it was only one instance of a growing trend. In school shootings, movie openings and night club attacks law enforcement is asked to respond to a type of threat that it was never intended to responsible for.
A person using an assault rifle in order to steal property, or extort money is clearly a criminal. If a person uses an assault rifle and military equipment for the express purpose of killing or terrorizing citizenry in general, that is an act of war. It can be argued that by slaughtering the innocent they are actually guilty of a war crime not a mere local law or state law. Why are police equipped like soldiers? Because there is the very real possibility they will have to act like soldiers.
It is illegal for a “violent” felon to purchase or own body armor. There are different state laws against wearing body armor, and some states have additional penalties for wearing body armor during the commission of a crime. Most of these laws fall short of much real effectiveness. By wearing body armor a criminal is not only committing an additional single offense, he has communicated his willingness, preparedness and expectation of using deadly force against police, or others. A criminal wearing ballistic protective equipment and military gear is not out to rob you of your wallet. They are in essence a combatant attacking the nation, state, and community.
In response to this growing trend law enforcement agencies have the responsibility to equip and prepare their officers appropriately. It is also up to individual offers to ensure they are employing the most appropriate equipment dictated by their environment and operational needs. According to the National Institute of Justice 3000 officer’s lives have been saved thanks to body armor in the last three decades. Unfortunately, 491 officers have been killed between 2006 and 2015 while wearing body armor. Picking the right body armor is important and the need to prevent criminals from the access and use of body armor have never been more urgent.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.