Body Armor Safety Initiative

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 What is the Body Armor Safety Initiative and how does it benefit law enforcement agencies?

  • On November 17, 2003, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the Department of Justice's Body Armor Safety Initiative (BAI) in response to concerns raised by the law enforcement community regarding the effectiveness of their armor. He directed the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to initiate an examination of Zylon®.-based bullet resistant armor, to analyze upgrade kits provided by manufacturers to retrofit Zylon®.-based bullet-resistant armors, and to review the existing process by which bullet-resistant armor is certified to determine if the process needs modification. The testing and research conducted by the NIJ will provide objective information to help agencies determine whether they should replace their existing Zylon®.-based body armor and whether upgrade kits offered by the manufacturer will ensure the performance of used armor throughout the warranty period. The review and modification of the existing armor compliance testing program will help to ensure the long-term performance of armor while balancing safety, performance, and budgetary concerns. NIJ's ongoing research into the causes and mechanisms of armor degradation will assist in developing methodologies for evaluating used armor and eventually lead to the development of nondestructive test procedures.

  •  Other Related Questions

  • Do other ballistic-resistant materials degrade, to what extent do they degrade, and what is being done to ensure that body armor made of these materials are protected from degradation?

  • Do the upgrade kits offered with certain models of Zylon®-based body armor ensure the armor's performance throughout the warranty period?

  • Has the cause of the Forest Hills (PA) vest failure been determined?

  • Now that the Department of Justice has provided findings on the evaluation of upgrade kits, what should law enforcement agencies and officers do if they are concerned with the performance of their upgrade kit and armor?

  • We have heard that armor performance may degrade as a result of exposure to heat, moisture, light, and wear and tear. How does one know if the armor's performance may have degraded and may no longer provide adequate protection?

  • What does the manufacturer's warranty cover?

  • When will the Department of Justice complete its testing of Zylon®-based body armor and provide the public safety community with the definitive answers on the performance of Zylon®-based body armor?

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