Safety Considerations for Law Enforcement

Body armor for police

Working in law enforcement is dangerous. Most of us accept that danger is part of the job description, but we still cringe at some of the painful statistics. Violence against law enforcement is definitely up: in the last ten years government data reveals there were nearly 60,000 assaults on police officers. In 2016 alone, 66 officers were killed while on duty.

The majority of the assaults against law enforcement officers come from shootings. Shootings are the second leading cause of death for police, after car crashes, and of the 66 officers murdered in the line of duty in 2016, 62 of those attacks were made with firearms. This reality makes body armor, police duty gear, and tactical gear for law enforcement essential. These truths also highlight how important it is to be trained and ready. Whether it?s mental preparation, using reactive targets to prepare tactically, or wearing the right body armor, preparation is key.

Wear Prepared

Bulletproof vests for police officers have been credited with saving the lives of 3,000 law enforcement personnel in the last thirty years. Those who don?t wear body armor of some sort have a 3.4 times greater chance of dying from a torso shot.

Getting the right kind of armor is essential, too. Some police duty gear is unable to stop more powerful ammunition, and this accounts for the 20% of officers who were shot in the torso while wearing armor, yet died anyway. If you?re ever going to invest in anything, invest in body armor clothing of the best quality.

Train Prepared

If you?re still using simple paper targets, stop. Using reactive targets is a far more effective way to train for real world situations. What are reactive targets?

  1. Reactive Paper Targets:These look like plain paper targets but they turn a bright color when hit, enabling the shooter to see hits from a distance. Using reactive targets like this saves time bringing paper back in or running down to look at the shot.

    1. Rubber Targets:These come in all kinds of shapes, let bullets pass through them (so they?re safe to shoot at close range) and react visibly so you know instantly if you hit the mark. They?re also easy to hang or otherwise make more difficult to shoot.

      1. Steel Targets: These make a loud sound when hit, and most fall over, so you know right away if you?ve succeeded. They can be shaped to provide easier or more difficult targets, and are great for long-range shooting.

        1. Explosive Targets: These do just what they say: explode to one degree or another when hit properly. These are not only fun, but also allow you to practice dealing with sudden loud noises.

          Using reactive targets can help get you just a bit closer than simple paper targets to the wild variables of shootings in the real world.

          Think Prepared

          In addition to using reactive targets and wearing the right gear, it is essential to have the right mental preparation. This includes your attitude about yourself and what you?re doing, determining in advance to be in control, practicing mental discipline and calmness, and learning how to keep panic at bay.

          Many training opportunities are available in these areas, and some are highlighted in this article from Street Survival Seminar. Whatever training you choose to use, though, remember that being ready psychologically is as important as using reactive targets or finding the perfect ballistic body armor.

          Being in law enforcement is inherently dangerous, but there are ways to minimize the danger. The more proactive you are now, the less reacting you?ll have to do later.

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