Do Cops Wear Bulletproof Vests And Why?

Wearing a bulletproof vest is not mandatory for every law enforcement agency. However, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program by the Department of Justice has given funding for over 130000 jurisdictions which makes it compulsory for the departments to have and wear bulletproof vests. Law enforcement can be a dangerous profession. 

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 20 out of 100,000 police officers and sheriffs in the US experience an on-the-job fatality. Firearms are still one of the most dangerous threats cops face in the US. Although a significant percentage of fatalities are caused by traffic every year, there is also a high percentage of felonious fatalities because of assaults with firearms. That is why cops wear bulletproof vests, to protect themselves in case of assault.

How Does A Bullet Proof Vest Protect Cops?

Cops Bullet Proof Vest

Cops are expected to wear bulletproof whenever there is an activity going on. However, it is not mandatory, and that’s why some cops don’t wear them, especially if they are working on a low-risk issue. Any situation may turn fatal, and that’s why it’s recommended that they wear bulletproof vests every time. 

A bulletproof vest has many advantages for a cop. Some of them include:


Bulletproof vests act as an anchor sheet for a cop. The vest protects anyone wearing it, whether a detective, FBI, or any other cop. A bulletproof vest also gives some sense of relief when a police officer wears one, and a situation turns fatal because they get the protection they need. Hence, it is beneficial to cops for their safety.

Covert Styles

Bulletproof vests come in various styles and sizes. The vests are designed meticulously and according to body shapes. These vests are put underneath clothing, and police officers doing undercover work like detectives can remain discreet and secretive. 

Some vests may be considered hard armor, although they are pretty flexible to allow easy movement and breathability.

Hiding Ammunitions

Bulletproof vests act as ammunition and arms storage. These properties allow the cops to protect themselves from sudden threats, including stabs, pellets, bullets, and explosions. A stab and spike-proof vest are typical among officers who double as security personnel.

Essential Things You Should Know About Cops Bulletproof Vests

About Cops Bulletproof Vests

Vests Have A Lifespan

Bulletproof vests also have a lifespan. MARS Armor produces body armor that has 5 to 10 years of warranty. These vests are meant to be protective for a specified period. Wearing body armor every day makes it lose its defensive capability quicker than a vest that is not worn. 

No matter how many times the cop wears the vest; it should be scrutinized for any sign of damage, including creases, burn, odor and tears. Taking good care of the vest will make it last for the entire period and even long after it has already expired.

Outer Shell Carriers Are Washable

It’s important to keep two carriers for your armor. Doing this will make you have a ready-to-wear vest at all times, even when one has already been washed. A cop may choose not to wear their bulletproof vest after washing, but this can be dangerous in case of an assault. Therefore, cops should have at least two carriers- one for washing and one to wear.

Cleaning Soft Armor Ballistic Panels

Ballistic panels provide the actual bullet protection. Therefore, they must be stored, used, and cleaned just as specified by the manual for proper functioning. If you want to clean the ballistic panels of the vest, use a mild soap and a slightly damp sponge. Avoid tossing them onto a washing machine or ironing them either, as the fiber may melt because of the heat.

Bulletproof Best Storage

The ballistic panels are made of multiple layers of bullet-resistant fibers. Once they bend out of shape, straightening them or ironing them will not save the situation. So, if you put your bulletproof vest with a heap of clothes, it will be crumpled. 

If you want to dry your vest, lay it flat in a well-ventilated area under a shade. Store your vest assembled and hang it in your closet.

Avoid Making The Vest Wet

It would be wise never to go swimming with a bulletproof vest as it may lose its ballistic performance once the ballistic material comes into contact with water. When this happens, your bulletproof vest becomes susceptible to penetration by a bullet. 

Some vests are made with a water-resistant armor panel, including MARS armor. Before you make the vest wet, check if the ballistic panels have a water-resistant armor panel.

Are Cops Bulletproof Vest Knife Resistant?

A bulletproof vest is not a knife-resistant vest. A stab vest is made of different fiber and weave than a bulletproof vest. You can find multi-threat vests on the market; however, they are pretty heavier and more costly than the rest.

Every year at the International Association of Chiefs of Police, towns such as Dupont holds a ceremony for officers who Kevlar body armors have saved. 

During the ceremony, several officers are recognized for being saved by the impact of a patrol car steering column following an accident. Therefore, bulletproof vests are also effective in protecting against other accidents apart from bullets.

Can You Replace Vest Straps With Duct Tape?

As mentioned earlier, cops need bulletproof vests while on duty to save themselves from assault caused by firearms. Therefore, a bulletproof vest should always be in its best condition for maximum protection. 

Using duct tape to secure the bulletproof vest to a body is not a good idea. The duct tape only tapes the vest down. Therefore, it can’t move properly with the body, meaning there will be a coverage problem in a ballistic event. Duct tape will also not provide extra ballistic protection.


Cops wear bulletproof vests for protection against bullets. Although a cop doesn’t need to be in a vest, it’s essential in case of an assault event. Bulletproof vests also provide a cop with a sense of relief, knowing that they have the protection needed if a situation arises.

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