It is no secret that police officers are in danger every day. Over the past 10 years, according to data put out by the United States government, there have been almost 60,000 assaults every year on law enforcement officers. Shootings were the second leading cause of death of law enforcement officers. The first is accidents involving motor vehicles. One-third of police officer deaths are from gunshots. Police safety is, therefore, of paramount importance to departments around the nation.andnbsp;
Getting the right tactical body armor is the first step in improving police safety but that is only the first step. Vel Tye has put together the reasons law enforcement agencies also have to pay attention to the age of the bulletproof vests for police officers. They report that any products that are designed to be bulletproof also come with a “use by” date. They all have the exact date when they should be retired placed somewhere on them. It is important that police officers are not made to wear body armor for law enforcement that is older than the date stamped on the vests.
What is the point of the expiration date on body armor clothing?
The fabric that is used to make bulletproof vests has been coated with a variety of chemicals. Chemical compounds will have expiration dates of their own. These chemicals really start to break down much earlier than the date on the clothing.
The actual fabric that is used does not change the fact that the material will break down. Kevlar breaks down, as do the industrial fibers that are often used. For the highest level of police safety, it is important to pay close attention to that date.
It is also important to note that the equipment in question may begin to fail at different rates. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when you look at how well a bulletproof vest will perform. UV rays can be damaging. If the police officers wear the same vest day in and day out, it may wear down sooner and provide less protection. When vests are subjected to rain or other moisture, the same thing can happen.
Now, when police tactical gear goes bad, it is not at all the same thing as when your milk spoils but vests that are old do not offer the same help to police safety as ones that are younger and newer.
Does all police tactical gear have the same expiration date?
In the world of police safety equipment, all body armor for police is not created equal. A lot of the length of time a piece of body armor will be able to protect its wearer is determined by the way it was made, what it is made from and what kind of use it gets. For the most part, bulletproof vests should be at the top of their game for a minimum of five years.
When the body armor in question has been manufactured from softer materials, it is more prone to degradation and will expire sooner. When this kind of equipment becomes very wet, it will become useless pretty much immediately as this kind of armor is just not built to get wet. Paying close attention to the label and the manufacturer’s instructions for your equipment is the best way to keep your officers safe. Not following these instructions can lead to deadly situations.
What happens to make the body armor unwearable after its expiration date?
At the end of the day, body armor that is being worn past the date that the manufacturer has recommended will not be as effective at stopping bullets (or other blows such as those encountered in a car crash). In addition, the different pieces of the body armor are going to have a better chance of cracking, becoming dented or warping and even if they are able to stop a bullet, those problems can cause serious injuries to the person wearing the gear.
At the end of the day, any agency that is concerned with police safety will retire their bulletproof vests when they reach their expiration date.