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Jogging gear can look like explosive vest

Is that a suicide bomber...or just a jogger?
An alert provided by the Force Science Research Center

Police in California report a piece of sports training equipment that could cause an officer to mistake an innocent jogger for a would-be suicide bomber.

The item is a "weighted running vest," which affixes to the torso and back with shoulder straps and a wide, Velcro waistband. Large pockets front and rear can be filled with small-diameter, solid metal cylinders about the length of a shotgun shell to add extra poundage and thereby intensify a jogger's workout.

"These vests are becoming popular among joggers, and it's likely we will see an increase of individuals utilizing them," cautions a photo bulletin circulated to law enforcement. "All personnel should use extreme caution when confronting any individual wearing a vest of this nature, as it's difficult to differentiate between a running vest and a suicide bomber's vest."

Notes Cpl. John Chapman of the Presidio of Monterey (CA) P.D.: "This thing looks almost exactly like a homicide bomber vest. Our concerns include the obvious: implementing suicide-bomber response against someone training for a run, or the opposite, a real homicide bomber using this item to [disguise carrying] his device."

See photos of the vest

Our thanks to Cpl. Chapman and George "Butch" Rogers, an instructor with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) and a member of the Force Science Research Center's Technical Advisory Board, for bringing the ambiguous vest to the attention of the Force Science News membership.

About the author

The Force Science Institute was launched in 2004 by Executive Director Bill Lewinski, PhD. - a specialist in police psychology -- to conduct unique lethal-force experiments. The non-profit Force Science Institute, based at Minnesota State University-Mankato, uses sophisticated time-and-motion measurements to document-for the first time-critical hidden truths about the physical and mental dynamics of life-threatening events, particularly officer-involved shootings. Its startling findings profoundly impact on officer training and safety and on the public's naive perceptions.

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