Publication Date



[Excerpt] Firearms are one of the leading causes of deaths for law enforcement officers feloniously killed in the line of duty. According to data published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), approximately 92% of the 505 non-federal law enforcement officers feloniously killed in the line of duty between 2005 and 2014 were killed by a firearm. Law enforcement officers who are shot in the torso are more likely to die as a result of their injury if they are not wearing a vest.

Since FY1999, Congress has provided funding to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to help them purchase armor vests for their officers through the Matching Grant Program for Law Enforcement Armor Vests (also referred to as the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Initiative, hereinafter “the BPV program”).

This report provides an overview of the BPV program. It also provides a discussion of

  • data on law enforcement agencies that require their officers to wear armor vests while on duty,
  • research on why officers may choose to wear armor vests
  • research on the life cycle for armor vests,
  • data on the use of body armor by law enforcement officers who were killed with a firearm, and
  • research on the effectiveness of armor vests.

The report concludes with a survey of congressional issues policy makers might consider should they take up legislation to reauthorize the BPV program.


Suggested Citation
James, N (2016). Body armor for law enforcement officers: In brief (CRS Report R43544). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.