Every officer with the Miami Police Department received a new protective Armor Express 2A Kevlar vest on Thursday.
According to MPD Captain Thomas Anderson the officers each receive a new I every five years which is the duration of the vests’ warranty. Twenty officers got new vests this week and four newer police officers received their vests when they were hired. Most patrol officers now use similar types of vests for ballistic protection.
“We don’t want our officers to wear them past warranty with their safety in mind,” Anderson said. “The City of Miami has always taken officer safety very seriously and provided the vests.”
Each officer was individually measured and sized by Armor Express a few weeks ago and fitted again on Thursday when the vests arrived for a customized fit for comfort and safety.
Anderson said the vests were paid for as a routine department budget expense. Each officer’s vest cost from $550 to $600.
“The expense is absolutely well worth it,” Anderson said. “It’s peace of mind and safety. Countless officers have been saved by wearing vests nationwide. It’s a critical piece of the uniform.”
The new vests are lightweight, highly effective and more comfortable and have adjustable covers and shock plates to protect the vital organs of the officers in case of a shooting. Anderson said the vests weigh about 20 pounds and are required pieces of equipment for Miami officers.
“It’s mandatory here, but I think all of the officers would wear them by choice,” he said.
The fibers in these vests help trap bullets and the force is spread out over a greater area, causing the bullet to stop within the material. The body under the vest is still impacted by the force generated by the bullet. Anderson said in the past a similar type vest worn by MPD Officer Mike Brashears helped protect the officer in a 2010 shooting incident after responding to a report of a husband-wife domestic disturbance at the Chisholm Trail Apartments in in Miami.
Some of the older vests which are still appropriately usable will be donated to other police departments for use such as the Quapaw Police Department, according to Anderson.