DOJ Press Release letterhead

  • Office of Justice Programs (OJP)
  • Contact: Sheila Jerusalem
  • (202) 307-0703


WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today announced a new performance standard for protective suits used by law enforcement when dealing with hazardous materials.

The new standard sets requirements for performance levels intended to protect officers against chemical, biological, nuclear, and radiological (CBNR) hazards. CBNR hazards include chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, biological agents and radiological and nuclear particulate hazards that may inflict bodily harm, incapacitation or death.

"Until now, the only standard for this type of protective gear was for firefighters. Law enforcement officers and firefighters, however, have vastly different needs,” said NIJ Director Dr. John H. Laub, Ph.D. "The new performance requirements ensure that law enforcement officers will have well-defined minimum levels of protection when they must deal with situations involving, for example, toxic chemicals or pathogens."

Performance standards ensure that commercially available body armor and protective gear, such as bullet resistant vests, provide a minimum level of protection. NIJ creates and issues standards for a range of law enforcement and corrections equipment.

NIJ is the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. NIJ provides objective, independent, evidence-based knowledge and tools to meet the challenges of crime and justice, particularly at the state and local levels. More information on the new body armor standard is available at:


The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has seven bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Community Capacity Development Office, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP and its components can be found at