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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.

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