Benefits of body armor outweigh cost for police officers: study

September 9, 2010

Providing body armor to all police officers would save at least eight lives a year, suggests research from Santa Monica, CA-based Rand Corp.

According to a study abstract, researchers conducted an analysis of 561 line-of-duty shootings between 2004 and 2007 and found police officers who were not wearing body armor had a 68 percent chance of dying, compared with a 20 percent chance for those wearing armor, according to a Rand press release.

About 75 percent of police officers work in departments requiring use of body armor. Outfitting the 236,000 officers who do not have body armor would cost roughly $26 million a year, but would produce an economic value of $51 million in terms of lives saved, the release said.

The study appears in the October issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.