Wave of civil unrest in the United States leads to changes in body armor

This most recent ambush and pre-planned attacks on law enforcement officers across the United States really display the lack of adequate body armor being actively worn or even available to the uniformed Patrol Officers. The subsequent civil unrest that ensued in several large cities across various states became a catalyst event as the pre-planned attacks seem to be on the rise. All of these attacks are being carried out by a variety of protestors armed with a variety of long guns that pose a challenge to the current "standard issued" concealable armored vest IIA police officers are equipped with. Being outgunned and out protected by the suspects they face is turning into a serious problem - one that is not acceptable anymore in Law Enforcement.

The latest increase in police shooting incidents has led to police departments across the States to budget in upgrades and updates of the body armor used from the standard issued IIA to IIIA. The latter providing the highest blunt trauma protection rating in soft body armor and the best for very high-risk situations involving uncommon or unusual threats.

Police departments are also approving additional funding toward the upgrade to be used to purchase Kevlar helmets and body armor for officers. Regional government bodies are considering the addition of ceramic plates that would be inserted into the existing fabric armor and be able to stop handgun bullets. Law enforcement officers will be required to wear the fabric armor regularly and fit the ceramic plates in high-risk situations such as riots.

Several mayors have already filed legislation to draw money from their reserve funds to acquire “ballistic plates and vests to protect officers against assault-type rifle fire that their current equipment can’t stop” as well as ballistic helmets and non-ballistic face shields.

While it is up to local police department or agencies to dictate what ballistic threat level officers need to wear on duty, it is becoming a topic of national debate whether body armor should be focused on torso coverage when issued or purchasing custom-sized vests.

Law enforcement agencies around the world remain the biggest market for riot control systems. With the market expected to generate revenues of over USD 3.5 billion by the end of 2020, law enforcement in the US has started procuring riot control equipment of a higher protection level. Moreover, special vehicles that are equipped with water cannon and reservoirs have been designed for use in areas of conflict to handle large crowds and protests. Demand for such equipment is expected to rise during the next few years in the light of recent violent demonstrations in Baltimore and Dallas.

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