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Effect of Body Armor on Saving Officers' Lives: An Analysis Using LEOKA Data

NCJ Number
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene Volume: 14 Issue: 2 Dated: 2017 Pages: 73-80
Date Published
8 pages

Using the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA; 2002-2011) database, this study examined the life-saving effectiveness of body armor, while adjusting for a range of confounders not assessed in previous studies.


Among the 637 officers who were shot by a firearm at the torso, those who wore body armor were 76 percent less likely to be killed than those who did not wear armor, controlling for an array of individual and incident characteristics. A number of factors influenced officers' armor-wearing behavior, including age, BMI, rank, geographic region, and type of assignment. These results will inform law enforcement agencies in assessing gaps in their current policy and help focus limited resources to encourage armor wearing. The investigation of other factors that influence police officers' chance of surviving a gun shooting (while controlling for body armor) will also have important implications for policies related to sending backup officers to police shootings, emergency response, and other critical areas. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2017