March 15, 2004
Armor Holdings, Inc. Comments on the NIJ Body Armor Summit
Company Endorses NIJ Effort, Expresses Support for More Comprehensive National Standards and Addresses Results of Preliminary Tests
JACKSONVILLE, FL - Armor Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiary Armor Holdings Products, Inc. (AHPI) today commended the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and pledged continued support to the agency in its efforts to review and assess issues emanating from the reported failure of a bullet- resistant vest in Pennsylvania and the corresponding concerns related to the suitability of Zylon®-based body armor.
The announcement follows the company's participation in the NIJ Body Armor Summit held on March 11, in Washington, DC, where the NIJ and representatives from manufacturers, suppliers and law enforcement met to discuss the issues related to body armor research, development, manufacturing and testing, as well the current quality of the information being circulated in the marketplace about these issues.
Steve Croskrey, President & CEO of Armor Holdings Products, Inc., stated, "The Summit was an ideal forum for discussion and exchange of ideas regarding these very important issues. The NIJ is to be commended for its leadership and commitment to ensuring that the men and women in uniform have the best and most reliable equipment possible. As a leading manufacturer of body armor, we have been actively engaged in assisting the NIJ and will continue to advocate for the highest standards of performance and reliability for our products and the industry as a whole. We were pleased to see that the NIJ incorporated some of our suggestions in its Body Armor Safety Initiative testing program announced at the Summit."
During the Summit the NIJ released some preliminary results from its testing program. To date the NIJ has only tested a very limited sample of "heavily worn vests that had already been taken out of service" by law enforcement agencies. The NIJ explained that the release of this information is part of its Phase I or "Worst Case Scenario" analysis that will subject used vests worn in the field to the same ballistic testing standard applied to a new vest. Not surprisingly, a number of these vests, some of which were manufactured by one of our companies, experienced some level of penetration. Appropriately, however, the NIJ warned against misuse and misinterpretation of these preliminary and inconclusive results stating: "Because of the very limited sample size (20 armors) [vests] it is not possible to draw any statistically-based conclusions." The NIJ's stated goal is to test a minimum of 532 vests (armors).
Notwithstanding the preliminary and inconclusive nature of the NIJ results, AHPI has taken a proactive position with respect to the elevation of testing and certification standards for law enforcement body armor. Specifically, the Company endorses more stringent testing standards for new vests as well as ongoing testing of in-use vests.
In addition to more stringent requirements for new and used vests, AHPI strongly endorses the adoption of standards applicable to the manufacturing and supply chain process involved in vest construction. "Fiber attributes are only one element in a complicated process that determines the effective ballistic capabilities of a vest. It is essential that the industry adopt a strict set of comprehensive standards and protocols that govern not only the level of threat protection for new and used vests, but also the entire system of production from the individual components to the manufacturing process to the quality control involved in how vests are made," said Croskrey.
The NIJ continues to encourage law enforcement officers to wear body armor, in light of the fact that "the lives of more than 2,700 law enforcement officers have been saved by the use of bullet-resistant body armor over the past 30 years."
A copy of the NIJ Status Report to the Attorney General on Body Armor Safety Initiative Testing and Activities can be found at the NIJ's BASI web site at https://vests.ojp.gov/docs/ArmorReportWithPress.pdf
Armor Holdings Products, Inc.
Armor Holdings Products, Inc. is a division of Armor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AH) and a leading supplier of products to the law enforcement community and the military. The Company is a leading manufacturer and marketer of body armor under the brands American Body Armor™, PROTECH™ and Safariland®. More information can be found at http://www.armorholdings.com/products/main_frame.htm.
About Armor Holdings, Inc.
Armor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AH) is a diversified manufacturer of branded products for the military, law enforcement, and personnel safety markets. Additional information can be found at www.armorholdings.com.
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