Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Providing body armor to all US police officers is worth the cost, study finds

Date:
September 1, 2010
Source:
RAND Corporation
Summary:
While most police departments use body armor, many still do not. A new study finds that providing body armor to all law enforcement officers in the United States would provide enough benefit to justify the cost. The study found that officers who wear body armor are three times as likely to survive being shot in the torso and estimates that providing such equipment to all officers nationally would save at least eight lives annually.

Providing body armor to all law enforcement officers in the United States would provide enough benefit to justify the cost, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Analyzing police officer shootings over a four-year period, the study found that wearing body armor more than tripled the likelihood that an officer would survive a shooting to the torso and estimated that providing such equipment to all officers nationally would save at least eight lives annually. While most police departments already use body armor, many still do not.

Considering the value of the life of an officer killed by gunfire, the study concludes that the benefits of providing body armor to all officers would be twice as large as the cost. The findings were published online by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

"While it is well-known that body armor saves lives, we've never known just how effective it is," said Tom LaTourrette, the study's author and a senior scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "The additional cost of providing body armor to all law enforcement officers in the United States is more than justified compared to the savings that would be created by fewer serious injuries and officer deaths."

Body armor began to be used by law enforcement agencies in the United States during the middle of the 1970s and today about 75 percent of officers nationwide work in departments that require the equipment to be worn while officers are on duty or in certain high-risk situations.

No high-quality studies have been done previously to examine the effectiveness of body armor among police officers.

LaTourrette examined 561 line-of-duty shootings involving police officers nationally between 2004 and 2007. Among the 262 torso shootings studied, officers who were not wearing body armor had a 68 percent chance of dying as compared to a 20 percent among those who did wear armor.

The study estimates that it costs $112 per year to provide an officer with body armor. So outfitting the 236,000 police officers who do not have body armor would cost about $26 million annually, while the study estimates the economic value of the lives saved each year at $51 million.

The cost of providing police officers with body armor typically is shared by the federal government and local law enforcement agencies.

LaTourrette said more research is needed to understand how body armor can be made more effective. His analysis found that body armor was most often defeated when bullets entered between the side panels or struck an officer above or below the vest, but in some cases armor was penetrated by a bullet from a gun that exceeded the armor's rating.

Making body armor more effective will require balancing body area coverage and penetration resistance, while minimizing wearer discomfort and impeding officers' job performance.

The study draws on data gathered for previous RAND studies and was supported by discretionary funds within RAND Infrastructure, Safety and Environment. The project was conducted within the RAND Safety and Justice Program, which conducts public policy research on corrections, policing, public safety and occupational safety.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by RAND Corporation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

RAND Corporation. "Providing body armor to all US police officers is worth the cost, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100901091942.htm>.
RAND Corporation. (2010, September 1). Providing body armor to all US police officers is worth the cost, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100901091942.htm
RAND Corporation. "Providing body armor to all US police officers is worth the cost, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100901091942.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) Speaking about the future of the United States Air Force, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the choice to divest the A-10 fleet was logical and least impactful. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) The B612 Foundation says asteroids strike Earth much more often than previously thought, and are hoping to build an early warning system. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) The future of Aereo, an online service that provides over-the-air TV channels, hinges on a battle with broadcasters that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins